We spent Days 1 and 5 of our Disney World vacation in the Magic Kingdom. There is so much to do in this park that I'm glad we had a second day to revisit favorites and experience the attractions we missed the first day. Magic Kingdom highlights for the boys included Carson jumping rope before the afternoon parade and Christian being chosen to play Belle's father in her story time garden. And they enjoyed riding the roller coasters and Pirates of the Caribbean. Tops for the girls was meeting their favorite princesses. Emma proudly sported a kiss from Ariel all afternoon! The girls were most excited to meet Cinderella, and Emma surprised the princess into giggles by talking nonstop as soon as they met. We all enjoyed the parades, and the nighttime fireworks displays left us breathless!
This park was much easier to accomplish in one day. We began our tour of the Animal Kingdom by embarking on a safari. The children enjoyed spotting animals along the way. Then while the boys took off in search of adventure on the roller coasters, the girls headed for calmer waters and the Finding Nemo musical. We thoroughly enjoyed this show, as well as The Festival of the Lion King. The boys caught an afternoon parade, and all the children enjoyed the carnival-style rides in Dinoland.
I was really worn out from our day in Epcot, but I did push the double stroller from Canada to France, then to China and all the way to Norway and back. While the boys tackled the rides and science exhibits, the girls and I visited the countries. Each area was so unique, and I especially enjoyed the scenery in Canada. I was amused to discover that it is a small world after all, as I overheard parents of all ethnicities asking their children why they didn't tell them they needed to go to the bathroom before they got in line. The girls enjoyed coloring masks at Kidcot stations throughout the day, and along the way they met Snow White, Winnie the Pooh and friends, and Sleeping Beauty. Sleeping Beauty was the most gracious of all the princesses we met, and she said so many kind things to the girls. Mary Ashley told me the princess pointed out that their hair and eyes are alike. Mary Ashley smiled wistfully for hours after their encounter, and several times said dreamily, "She called me princess."
We all felt like stars at Hollywood Studios. We started our day with a bang watching the outdoor High School Musical show. Even 2-year-old Emma was happy to identify songs and characters from her siblings' beloved "High-Goo-Gooney." Next we went to the Indiana Jones Stunt Show. I was excited to see this show because Joe's sister, Emily, alternated performing roles as the narrator and the female lead when she worked at Disney years ago. I was amazed to realize my sister-in-law scaled buildings and attempted so many dangerous stunts. As I have suspected all along, Emily really is a Super Woman! Then the girls and I were off to experience Playhouse Disney Live. The girls clapped, jumped and danced along with Mickey and friends. Later the family reunited to watch Beauty and the Beast, and I enjoyed the costuming, staging and music. The highlight of the day for the boys was being chosen for the Jedi Training Academy outside the Star Tours ride. They accepted their mission seriously and listened carefully to their instructor. Their practice paid off when they battled Darth Vader. After Christian took his turn demonstrating his maneuvers on Vader, storm troopers rushed at him. But my quick-thinking junior Jedi used the force to make them retreat. Then he beamed proudly as he watched his big brother battle Vader, certain that the villain was no match for Carson. After more rides and a parade, the boys were ready to meet the Power Rangers. We waited in line for the heroes to make their grand entrance. The Rangers struck ninja-inspired poses with all the children, so I was amused when Mary Ashley asked to have her picture made with the Pink Ranger and received hugs and cuddles from the superhero. I guess the Pink Ranger could tell at first glance that Mary Ashley is a lover, not a fighter! The Rockin' Roller Coaster was the boys' favorite attraction, and I think I won their respect by riding it and having a blast! We concluded our event-filled Hollywood Studios day watching the dazzling laser show Fantasmic.
We made so many memories to treasure during our Disney World vacation. It brought a tear to my eye to think back to my own childhood Mickey Mouse memories, realizing that I had returned to the parks as a grown woman ready to share the magic with my husband and four children. Experiencing the wonder through their eyes was such a gift. And I left our week thankful that dreams really do come true!