Friday, December 28, 2012

Disney Day 2: Animal Kingdom and Tusker House

Our second Disney day began with a bus trip to Animal Kingdom. We got there just as the park opened at 8am. Our Tusker House reservation was at 8:25, which was perfect. There was a heavy fog, so our breakfast gave us something to do while the fog lifted. Before eating, I grabbed Fastpasses to the Kilamanjaro Safari, and by the time we were done the fog was gone, and we walked right onto the safari with no wait!

We began with a picture with Donald the Duck.

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As we sat down, the characters were already making their way around. Daisy came by first. Blair was beside herself! She was so proud of finding a page in her little autograph book for Daisy to sign.

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Goofy was next, and she was a tad scared of him at first. He’s BIG! She warmed right up to him though.

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We also saw Mickey.

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All the characters were very sweet to the kids. Blair was loving the attention.

The breakfast was delicious. I loved the more original things on the buffet like sweet plantains and banana bread pudding with vanilla sauce. They also had anything else one could ever want for breakfast: fritatas, hash, sweet grits (???), bacon, sausage, Mickey waffles, fruit, cereal, pastries, ham, quiche, and more.

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I had to take Blair to the potty towards the end of our meal, and she was sure to tell Brad and Aunt Kimmie that if anyone came by that they should sign her book. So Daisy signed it again!

Next, we did the safari. Very neat. The enclosures are so integrated into the land that they are hard to see! Blair did the photography.

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We rode the train to the behind the scenes discovery area. We really could have skipped the whole thing. It was pretty neat, but Blair would have enjoyed more time in Dinoland.

animal kingdom 121012 128We met Rafiki!

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Next, we met several characters. Minnie was first, and Blair was so excited.

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Leighton was such a good sport.

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We also met Chip and Dale. They were so cute!

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Next, we went to the Lion King show. It was really cute. It lasted about 30 minutes, and to be honest Leighton liked it more than Blair did. I don’t know if it was loud for her or what, but she would NOT be still. Very cute show though!

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Since we had a huge breakfast, I packed sandwiches for lunch. We snacked on those and pushed through to the afternoon. After Lion King, Blair and her daddy went to the boneyard. She loved that. Then she rode her first ride – the dinosaurs.

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By then, it started sprinkling, and we were exhausted. We caught the bus back to the hotel, and we had one tired little one!

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That night we took it easy at the hotel. A much needed break after the first day!

All Things Disney: Trip Notes

I polled friends and read reviews for months. I read myself silly about this and that. I fretted about where to eat, where to stay, where to go. I changed reservations a thousand times. And finally the day came to leave for Disney. And we had a great trip!

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There are things I would do the same and some I would do differently. Overall we had a great time, and I can’t wait to go back.

Here are a few of the tips I’m giving myself if there’s a next time (and they’ll be good ones for others who are planning a trip too!):

  • Animal Kingdom for a day and Magic Kingdom for two days was a perfect stay for a 4 year old. I think we may drop AK next time and add a day overall.
  • Character supper on arrival day was great! And Garden Grill was a pleasant surprise!
  • Character breakfast on departure day was also a good idea.
  • Instead of going to the park on the day of a special night event – like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – we can spend the time swimming or have a sit down breakfast or lunch. Blair begged to swim the whole time, and I had not planned for us to because I was not sure of the weather. It was 83 every day. In December.
  • Tusker house breakfast is awesome. (A reason to do Animal Kingdom again!)
  • We spent about the same amount of money without the dining plan as we would have with it. I might consider a dining plan next time, especially if it’s free.
  • Blair needs to be much older before we try the Candlelight Processional again.
  • The double stroller was a bit more difficult on the bus, but it was a dream on the monorail. Wearing Leighton at times also worked out great for lines and rides. I would definitely go with a 4 month old again. He was perfect.
  • What other kids love may not be what mine love. Blair did not want anything to do with the indoor rides/attractions (this may be hearing related?). We rode the Barnstormer over and over again. And the carousel. And she loved the characters.
  • The second week in December was perfect! Beautiful weather, short lines, awesome decorations. Great time to go!

animal kingdom 121012 001Wreath at the Contemporary.

Even though Blair is not really into movies and much television at all, she adored meeting the characters and getting them to sign her autograph book.

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A few days before departure, my sister forwarded me a link to Dixie Delights blog where the blogger had posted how to make her precious Disney autograph book. I had the things on hand to make it, so I whipped one right up. It really took less than an hour to do the whole thing, and we had a trip to the doctor planned that week, so I had it bound while we were in the city (you know, where we can actually run errands!).


A few things I did differently from the Dixie Delights tutorial…. I used some 5 1/2 by 8 1/2 notecards I had had a long time. Then, I cut card stock in half for the cover and back. I also used Microsoft Word to lay out my book. I used the basic layout from Dixie Delights and the fonts she linked to in her post. I laminated the cover, and I had the book bound at FedEx Kinko’s for about $6.

I ended up with about 25 autograph pages plus pages for each park, restaurant, and special event. And I had a few pages left over for extra pictures.


It turned out super cute, and I was so glad that Lin stumbled upon Dixie Delights’ autograph books!


I printed about 50 pictures when we got home and put them in the book. It’s a perfect keepsake for Blair!


Burnt hair and Next ‘Morrow – the things Blair says.

These are notes I took over October and November. I tell you, it’s getting harder and harder to keep up with all the stuff Blair says. She’s constantly saying something that deserves to be remembered!

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“Teach me how to spell…” Over the two months, Blair’s writing has TAKEN OFF. She wants to write every list I make. Instead of “tell me…” she says “teach me how to spell” something. And most of the time, it’s legible.

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“Ask me something I don’t know.” She wants us to tell her new things. She told me, “Oranges grow on trees, and daddy told me that, but I knowed it. Tell me something I don’t know.” We talk about everything. 50 states, where things grow, animals, anything I can think of. And then Blair wants to tell us something we don’t know. She goes on and on, and then asks, “Did you know that?!” And when we tell her no, she says, “do you know it now?!”

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After giving Leighton a bath, she told me his hair was “a little burnt.” She was referring to the dark color of it while it was wet. She has experience with the color burnt, because her mama burns stuff all the time.

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And I have an extra mom these days. On the way to Gigi’s for Thanksgiving Blair exclaims, “Did you get the peas?!” Then she told me that when we get close to the “wiggling sign” (the lighted sign at the fairgrounds) “we’ll be at gigi’s in just a minute.”

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During supper, she’ll ask how many more bites she has to eat. And she wants a concrete answer. Brad told her “several” and she asked, “Can you count to several when you give ‘em to me?”

She asked if we were going to wash Gus’s paws, his magic, and his “whoa sir” during his bath. “Whoa sir” is Brad’s way of saying something Gus shouldn’t do. Just one of the silly games he plays with her!

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The little thinker counts with her fingers from thumb, pointer, pinky, tall man, and finally ring man. I’m guessing she figured out that if she pulled her pinky up first, the ring man and tall man would come up easier.

thanksgiving 2012 (79)She loves her cousin Faegan.

She likes to play with the rubber mulch in the play area. She calls it the “soft stuff.” Now though, it’s turned into “dollars” and “change.” She says, “How many dollars do you want? How much change?” And she’ll count them out and slide them down the slide to me.

blair 111112 (4)Bless Gus’ heart. She’s pulling him all over the yard. With the baby monitor on her shirt.

When I tell her we can do something tomorrow, she never forgets. The next day she’ll ask, “Is today tomorrow?” So sweet. Or if it’s further in the future, she’ll talk about “next morrow.”

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This dishwasher is wearing me out! (????)

Questions galore: What time is it? How many hours…? How many inches? How tall am I (as she gets on the scale)? I’m gon’ measure you.

Her Subway of choice: white bread with bacon, “sprinkle” cheese, “light blue mayonnaise,” and jelly. Yum.

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She still talks about the moon “coming with us” places. I love it. Makes my heart smile.

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In The Gap, she pointed to an Asian woman shopping next to us and asked, “Mama does she do toenails?”

She still asks, “What am I DOin’?” in the midst of having a great time playing.

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She knows how to tease and joke. I think this is really good for her since she has hearing loss. This is on the way home from the grocery store where we got a few things. Brad had asked us to get some Diet Coke:

I’m gon’ tell Dada that we did NOT get him any cokes.


I’m gon’ be silly with Dada! … And he’s gon’ say, ‘Blair, why did you not get me any coca cokes?!’ (The best thing is that this is exactly what he would say, and she said this in a funny voice just like Brad does.)

Every single time she pours a pediasure in her cup, she says, “It’s gon’ get all the way full like this? Is it gon’ get full?” And of course it never does. I don’t know if she teasing or not!

making her own waffles and fishing 111312 (4)Making waffles. And a mess!

She schools me at matching. She remembers pieces that were turned over first in the game after we’ve been playing for 15 minutes!

She swipes the tubing from my breast pump and puts them sticking out of the drawer in her room.

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While I was cleaning the kitchen, she got Gus, put him up in my bed, and leashed him to the bedside table. She was so proud. And she knows he’s not allowed on any furniture!

he's my dog 111212 (9)She has started getting a little anxious when she doesn’t know where Gus is outside. She loves him so much.

I cannot count how many times she tells me “Mama, this is NOT trash” after spotting something I threw away in one of the trash cans in the house.

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She wants to know how to spell everything. And she sounds out words all the time. We were doing an ABC puzzle, and since she knows the letters, I told her that we were going to think of words that started with each letter. We got to “U.” I said umbrella and up and asked her how to spell up.

B: (Saying sounds) “P-U?” 

Me: Up is u-p.

B: Like UPS? Like the UPS man?

playing with mama and sick 101512 (4)This is “the look” where she says there are “two mamas and two dadas.”

new bike! 102112 (4)Riding her new bike!

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To be continued for December. Including the part about talking about a doctor’s underwear… right in front of him.