Monday, April 27, 2015

Our Day in the Magic Kingdom {Disney World}

Our second day at Walt Disney World was spent in the Magic Kingdom and we LOVED it!  It is very similar to Disneyland and has the most rides and characters for the kids.  We arrived about 15 minutes before it opened which was perfect timing.  They had all the characters there for the opening and we were one of the first people on the rides.  

There are photographers throughout the park ready and willing to take your photo with either their camera (and then scan your band for you to access them online) OR they will use your camera to do it.  I love having someone ready to take our photo!  I had them use our camera each time.

We went straight to Tomorrowland and did; Tomorrowland Speedway, Space Mountain, Astro Orbiter (Nya could do this one), Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin (Nya loved this one!).  The boys did not like Space Mountain as they thought it was too scary.

I LOVE that we had 5 fast passes each that we could utilize immediately.  This was a huge plus as we `just' had four days at Walt Disney World.  Our prize pack included 6 days in Disney World but because two full days were travelling, we could only spend 4 days there. Two additional days would have definitely made it more relaxing as we just had to go, go, go to see everything that we wanted to.  Our usual wait times were 5-20 minutes, it was AWESOME.  

We then went up to Fantasyland and did Prince Charming's Regal Carousel, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Ariel's Grotto and Under the Sea.  The boys really enjoyed the Mine Train.

Nya did the Carousel twice.  She LOVED it.

While there we also met Cinderella and Rapunzel.  This was a highlight for Nya.  We waited about 15 minutes in the fastpass lane which wasn't too bad.  Our kids aren't into Frozen (Elsa and Ana) or we would've waited there for them, too.  The other thing I considered was putting Nya in a princess dress for meeting them but it was just so, so hot.

I am still so surprised that the boys loved meeting the characters too as I thought they would be `too cool' for it!  So glad it worked out that they all wanted to meet as many characters as possible.

We then went back to Main Street for the Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party.  All three kids love Phineus and Ferb so it was fun to dance with them in the street.  It was also very hot and humid!

We then did Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  While Gary and I took turns taking the kids on those (yay for Parent Passes!), Nya wandered through the many stores adding to her birthday list and enjoyed a Mickey Mouse Ice cream.

As an adult, the rides are not scary but they're perfect for our boys!

The kids all wanted to meet more characters so we went to the Big Top at Pete's Silly Sideshow (air conditioning!) and met four more.  Although they have professional photographers that take your pictures, they are more than happy to see you taking photos or will get a family photo with your own camera.  

We had a wake up time the next day at 5 am (which is like 2 am Vancouver time!) for the Breakfast Television Live Broadcast so we did not stay late at the park.  We went back to the Animal Kingdom Lodge  via the Disney buses.  The transportation system is so handy!!  We enjoyed dinner at the Mara, a marshmallow roast, saying hello to the giraffes, and a swim in the pool (where the boys did the water slide over and over and over again.).

{Jambo means `hello' in Swahili and this is where we stayed}

This was probably my favourite day at Disney was magical :)  We were somewhat rested, we could get an early start on the day, and the kids were able to do everything that was on our `must do' list.  The one downside of having our trip be so last minute is that we couldn't book a character dining meal but that was totally fine with us.  If we had an extra day at Disney World, we definitely would have spent it at the Magic Kingdom. 


PS What's your favourite ride in the Magic Kingdom or Disneyland?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Timberline Ranch Family Festival 2015

I love spending time outside with my family.  It's partly due to the fresh air, but let's be honest, our kids get along way better when they are engaged in outdoor activities.  We went to Timberline Ranch's Family Festival and there was something for everyone.  I love that it's located in Maple Ridge so it only takes us about 30 minutes to get there.  The atmosphere is very relaxed and the entrance was very affordable ($15/family booked online).  Here are some photos from our time there...

{Face Painting. She got a purple heart}

{Petting Zoo area}

{Photo booth area.  I love when you have someone ready to take a family photo!}

{Pony Rides for kids under the age of 10}

{Indoor Rock Climbing Wall}


There were other events that we didn't do; Marshmallow Roasting, Challenge Course, and the Wagon Ride.  Maybe we'll do those ones next time!  If you've never been to Timberline Ranch for one of their events, I recommend it.  It's a relaxing good time for the whole family!


Friday, April 24, 2015

Top 5 Things To Do in the Animal Kingdom {Disney World}

For our trip to Walt Disney World with our three kids (aged 2-8) we had one day in each of the four parks; Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. Having a couple of extra days would have been ideal but we made it work!  The parks are approximately a 15 minute bus ride from each other and from the resort we were staying at; Animal Kingdom Lodge.

{Map from a `must use' site for planning your trip}

For our day in the Animal Kingdom, these were are top 5 favourite activities:

1. Kilimanjaro Safaris.  We sat in an open air vehicle and drove through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve.  Our guide was able to point out so many different animals and it was nice that we could all sit in the same row.  There are not many rides that cater to Nya's size (37") in the Animal Kingdom Theme Park so this was one that we could do as a family.  We saw everything; hippos, rhinos, giraffes, zebras, crocodiles and lions!

2. Festival of the Lion King.  We did this midday so it was nice to get out of the heat and into the air conditioning for half an hour.  We watched The Lion King movie several times before we went so that was definitely beneficial.  Nya especially loved all of the theatrics and went to bed singing `Hakuna Matata' (although she said `Patata') each night.  The singing was really good and they had the audience involved too.  Another theatrical experience to consider would be Finding Nemo but our kids are more drawn to The Lion King and our time was limited so we didn't see that one.

3. Kali River Rapids Ride. The boys LOVED this ride.  It's not too scary and you get very wet on it which is awesome because Florida is hot and humid.  If you don't want to walk around soaking wet, be sure to buy a dollare store rain poncho before you go!  I bought our whole family one each for a grand total of $8 (rather than $10/poncho at the park).  The height is 38" and so Nya was an inch too short.  I think she would've been to scared on it anyway with the drops and she does not enjoy having wet clothes on.

4.  Expedition Everest.  You need to be 44" or taller and it is the most thrilling ride in this park.  We all really enjoyed it (well, Nya didn't go on) and I love how you go backwards for a portion of it as that was totally unexpected!  I went first with the boys and attained a `Parent Pass'.  This means that as soon as I was done, the boys could ride again with Gary in the fast pass line.

5. Meet the Characters.  At every single park, this was a highlight for our kids.  We brought autograph books along and on each page is a place to put a picture with the characters.   The character experience was very positive each and every time.  They were so good with our kids and you left feeling like they truly wanted to connect with each child.  Nya has FREAKED out when we've gone to see Santa Claus so I was shocked how she was drawn to each and every character.  

Honourable mention goes to: Primeval Whirl (a spinning roller coaster ride for 48" and up), TriceraTop Spin for the young ones, and DINOSAUR (40" and up).  

Finally, if you are looking for somewhere to eat with fast affordable service with great food, check out the Yak & Yeti Restaurant.

If you've been to the Animal Kingdom, would you put something different on your top 5 list?