Trip Report 2012: Day 4

Surprise! Thought I’d give you a little treat and not make you wait over a week to hear about Day 4 of our trip.

Day 4 started out early. Tim looked at his phone the night before and informed us all that EPCOT had extra-magic hours the following morning and would be opening at 8:00am as opposed to 9:00am. Joy! We’ll be up anyway, we thought, so why not speed through our NMR and make it to the park by open to spend that extra hour riding Soarin’ and Nemo?

Well. We were pretty giddy when we walked up to the gates at 7:50 and there were hardly any people there. Holy Cow! We’d be able to walk right on to anything!

At 9:00, that is.

Yup! The park didn’t open until 9:00. He had misread the app, but I was a nice little wife and told him that I was sure the app had been wrong the night before and had been updated since. I was just glad it wasn’t my fault this time. Shaow! That hour went by quickly, though, so it was really no big deal.
Plus, the wait gave us lots of time for pictures! Finally, the park opened! My parents ran ahead to hop on Soarin’, taking our Keys to the World {aka. our park tickets/room keys} with them to snag Tim and I some fastpasses. Tim and I decided to go ahead and take Jack and Cole on Nemo. They couldn’t ride Soarin’, due to height. Our plan was to meet up after riding our respective rides, swap over the kids, then Tim and I could ride Soarin’ while my folks took Jack and Cole for round two of Nemo. See how clever we are? No down time for anyone. Another good reason to vacation with family or friends when you have little ones.

On our way to Nemo, we passed a meet ‘n greet for Daisy Duck. We were one of the first to spot her, so we decided to stop and let Jack meet her. We were second in line and had marked her off our list in about 2 minutes.Next, we passed by the Character Spot. We had planned on waiting until after Nemo to hit that up, but seeing as how the wait was only 0 minutes {!} we knew that this was going to be our best shot at getting it done quickly. We were right. We were in and out of there in about 8 minutes, having hugged and high-fived Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald, and Goofy! Yessss. Go, Team Elrod!After waving a last goodbye to Goofy, we jetted over to Nemo and walked right on! Everybody sing along! You know you want to…

In the big blue world, I’m gonna go explore
In the big blue world, that I’ve never seen before
So many creatures….

No? Oh. Okay, I’ll just get back to the story then.

When we got off Nemo we called my folks and they had just gotten off Soarin’. They walked over and met us in the aquarium in The Seas. Jack loved looking at all of the fish and sea turtles. We even saw some scuba divers cleaning the manatee tank.

After getting our fill of the aquarium, we walked over the The Land and Tim and I used our fastpasses for Soarin’.

{Fun Fact: There is a 13 1/2 year difference, to the day, between my sister and I. June 30th and December 30th. Full blooded, no siblings in between. December 30th just happens to be Cole’s brithday, too! Jack and Cole are actually closer in age to their Aunt Hannah than Hannah and I are. In the words of Joe Fox, “We are…an American Family.” -You’ve Got Mail}

The boys enjoyed paling around with their Grandaddy while Tim and I hand-glided the Cali coast. Once we landed safely back in WDW, Florida, we all decided to ride Living with the Land. We all just love this ride. So what if it’s a little boring at parts? Most of the time this nerdy family is incredibly intrigued. Even Jack enjoyed seeing all of the produce and fish that they grow and harvest there.

Tim: “Look, Jack! A tomato shaped like Mickey Mouse!”

Jack: “I eat?!”

I also like to tell Hannah, as we enter the boat each time, that Disney just updated the ride a few months ago and added a big drop in the dark. She always says, “Nuh-uh!”, but I can see the slight tinge of fear in her eyes. Hannah likes thrills and Hannah like rides, but she does not like thrill rides. I’m a mean sissy, aren’t I? Ah well. I’m sweet when it counts, I promise. After our free-fall drop in the dark into the tank of baby alligators {I kid, I kid! Just breathe, Living with the Land is not scary! But you may see a tank of baby alligators…}, Tim, Hannah, Jack, Cole and I started walking toward the World Showcase to find out times for meeting Duffy, while my folks took one more spin with their fastpasses on Soarin’.

Duffy wasn’t out yet, so we wasted a little time in Mexico waiting for my folks. Cole decided this was an excellent time for a cat nap.
While there we got to see the opening ceremonies of Mexico pavilion! Hannah got chosen to do the count down en espanol! “Diez, nueve, ocho, siete, seis, cinco, cuatro, tress, dos, uno!” Yo hablo poquito espanol. Y tu? Tim, Hannah, and Jack rode the Three Caballeros boat ride through Mexico, while I stayed with the sleeping babe. Once they got off, we snagged our Kidcot Duffy and started coloring them for a minute or two before my parents showed up. By that time, Duffy was available to meet ‘n greet, but we didn’t have time because we had a reservation at Via Napoli for an 11:30 lunch. We had a fantastic waiter! He was personable, funny, great with the boys, and above and beyond accommodating to a mama trying to feed a bottle and a jar of baby food to her 9-month-old while still trying to enjoy her authentic Italian pizza. We had refills before we even thought to ask, and the meal was perfectly paced. Not too slow, not too quick.

We pretty much had pizzas all around. For dessert, the table was split between Tiramisu and this ice cream dessert with dark cherries and tasty biscotti. After lunch, it was finally time to meet Duffy the Disney Bear! We have so many people ask us about Duffy. Yes, Duffy is a Disney character, not just a name that we gave his favorite teddy. Most days, Duffy even takes top spot in Jack’s stuffed animal favorites above Mickey Mouse. We were expecting Jack to be excited about meeting Duffy, but excited may be an understatement. Ecstatic? Overjoyed? I don’t know; but in that moment, his favorite teddy bear was real, and as soft and fuzzy and huggy as the one he snuggles every night.What we weren’t expecting was for Cole to fall in love with him too! He practically jumped out of Tim’s arms to get at him.Check him out, trying to snatch Jack out of the way to get closer to Duffy!We decided then and there that it was time to get Cole his own Duffy. My mom did the honors. She gave the boys a bit of souvenir money and we used Cole’s to buy his new Duffy, and part of Jack’s on an outfit for his Duffy. They were both excited by their new souvenirs, and both boys are tucked into their beds right this minute snuggling them. So sweet.

Next up? You guessed it! Nap time. My folks stayed in the park to ride more rides and explore a few more countries while Tim and I took the boys back. They slept like rocks, and Tim might have gotten a bit of shut eye too. I sat in a comfy spot overlooking the lobby and read my book a bit. A vacation-themed read. Once the boys woke up, my family had arrived back from EPCOT. They had so lovingly offered to watch the boys for the rest of the day while Tim and I had a nice dinner to celebrate our 5 year anniversary. Tim had made us a reservation at Les Chefs de France. Needless to say, we were excited to simply get to sit and enjoy a meal without worrying about squirmy little bodies next to us, snatching food from our plates and whining to do anything but sit and enjoy a meal.

We had a successful hand-off and made the journey to France. Well, we did stop for a boat ride in Norway and a stroll through Japan first.  Our meal was delicious, and our waiter was extremely gracious and accommodating. I think there is something sweet about not being able to speak English very well. At the end of the meal he was trying to tell us Happy Anniversary, but he kept stumbling over his words in his thick French acccent, “I ‘ope you…I weesh you de best in de years…” We nodded, and let him off the hook by acknowledging that we understood what he was trying to say. He seemed very genuine in his best weeshes, and we were touched.

As far as the food went, we both chose from the Prix Fixe 3 Course Meals.
Tim got the french onion soup for his appetizer, broiled salmon, smashed potatoes with butter and chives, served on a tomato and red pepper sauce for his entree, and profiteroles for dessert. I chose the house salad for my appetizer, the roasted chicken, rissole potatoes and broccoli for my entree, and strawberry shortcake for dessert. So yummy!It was just wonderful getting to sit and talk with my best friend over a yummy dinner. I can’t believe it has already been 5 years! It’s definitely been the best 5 years of my life. I love you, Tim!

To top it off, as Illuminations began, we had a nice view from our table per request to the host stand from my amazing hubby beforehand. He’s so thoughtful.

{Of course they looked much more beautiful than this picture even comes close to showing.}

After dinner, we strolled hand-in-hand {too mushy?} through the UK and Canada on our way out of the park. We talked about our boys, our future kiddos, and dreamed about fun days ahead as DVC members. We definitely plan to buy in within the next year. This trip, we decided to call it like it is and admit that Disney is always going to be part of our vacationing destinations. We are a Dave Ramsey family, and try our hardest to be wise with our money. It just comes down to the fact that given that we aren’t going to stop vacationing in WDW, the most fiscally responsible thing we could do is buy in to DVC and put a much slower growing cap on what we will spend there in the future.

So tack it on to our list of 2013 goals!  We will be ringing in the New Year by tightening up our envelope system and letting the DVC saving begin!

Elrods Go DVC…kinda catchy. I like the sound of that.

With love, Malorie

One thought on “Trip Report 2012: Day 4

  1. Pingback: Trip Report 2012: Day 5 « Elrods Go Disney

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