Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Last Day of Unschooling at Walt Disney World


         On our last full day of vacation we decided to head into the Magic Kingdom.  I couldn't believe we only had one day to cover the entire park.  My boys were so enthralled with EPCOT and Hollywood Studios we hadn't spent much time at the Magic Kingdom at all!  We headed across the hotel to the main lobby for breakfast and saw lots of turtles-- both sun and hog nose, birds, and fish.  We even saw a few cranes resting in the treetops.  Alec had finished his drawing and wanted to bring that with him to display on the artist board.  One of the workers told Alec that if he leaves it up for everyone to enjoy the staff packs up the drawings at the end of the day and sends them to Mickey at the castle.  We thought that was pretty cool and everyone was impressed with Alec's drawing.  After breakfast we headed back to the room to get teeth brushed, put on lots of sunscreen and grab Evan's stroller.  I don't think Evan has used the stroller in the last year at all, but knowing all the walking, the long hours and the non- stop pace we put in while at Disney World we decided to bring it with us and it has been a godsend.  Our bus was full, the lines were long just to get into the park and people were pouring in off the monorails, buses and boats.  It was the most people we've seen all week! 
The finished drawing
see the cranes high up in the trees?
       But, once again, I needn't have worried.  Turns out the boys only wanted to ride 6 or 7 rides-- the redesigned Barnstormer rollercoaster, the Tomorrowland Speedway, Space Mountain (well Ian wanted to ride it anyway and Evan decided to give it a try), the Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain.  We were at the park from 10-1 and rode them all.  Alec only wanted to ride the Barnstormer.  He's not big on rides and often decides to sit out and wait.  I can't tell you how many times he plays his DS while in the parks waiting for his brothers, but I know it's often.  He doesn't like steep hills, anything that's dark, anything that's scary, anything where he'll get wet, or anything where he doesn't know what to expect.  I was very impressed that he decided to give Thunder Mountain a try.  When we entered the park we boarded the train on Main Street and rode it around to toontown to catch the Barnstormer and while on the train you can glimpse Splash Mt. and Thunder Mt.  He noticed that the tunnels on Thunder Mt. didn't look that dark and so he decided to try it later.  He loved it!  I was proud of him for trying something new but he still refused to try Splash Mountain and we had to coerce him onto the Pirates of the Caribbean.  We all enjoy that ride and no one wanted to sit and wait with him so I told him he could play his DS during the ride.  We sat at the very back of the boat and makes sure he turns the volume off so he doesn't disturb anyone else and that's how we get him on some of the rides we want to enjoy as a family.  It's a trick we discovered years ago and it usually works just fine.  We just caution him that if it bothers anyone nearby he MUST turn it off.  No one else wanted to see any shows and while there was a ride or two they might have liked to ride again the park was getting crowded and it was getting hot so we decided we'd rather go swimming instead.   The boys picked out a few new souvenirs, watched a parade, and eagerly waited for the bus to take us back to our hotel. It's a sure sign my boys are growing up when we don't have to spent days on end riding ALL the rides at the Magic Kingdom.  Part of our reason for going back over and over again is that every trip to Disney offers something new as our children grow and change.

the Barnstormer

Ian really wanted to ride on the Tomorrowland Speedway alone

Alec screamed a lot on Thunder Mountain but was all smiles





Evan's new friend-- Agent P

    Once at our hotel, the boys got ready to go swim in the pool.  I tired to get us packed back up a little while they were changing and then we all headed to cool off and relax.  Every pool at Disney has life guards during the day and a few people who plan activities by the pool.  We discovered this "trick" after a few trips to the world and make sure to set aside one afternoon at the pool just so they can play and have fun.  After swimming, using the water slide a few times and grabbing a quick lunch, the boys joined in the activities.  First up was a relay race.  Each team had to fill a small plastic bucket (with lots of little holes drilled in the bottom), pass it along the line and the last person had to pour it into a large jug.  The first team to fill the jug won.  The second race was a horse race using pool noodles.  Again it was a relay and each team member had to ride their horse noodle out to the activities director, give her a high five and return to their team.   The first team to finish won. They played with a giant beach ball that was decorated to look like a volleyball.  They had dancing and finished the day off with a "name that tune" contest.  For the contest 20 songs were played and they had to write down what movie the song came from and who was singing it (either the character or the actual singer).  They were allowed to work in pairs or work in groups and so my husband and I helped Alec.  It was fun and I'll admit that I was stumped by a few of them.  It was starting to rain a bit here and there and we needed to get ready for dinner but Alec and Evan really didn't want to leave.  My mother in law offered to stay with them and hang out with them.  When we returned to say good bye before heading out we found them playing a giant game of memory with all the Disney characters.  Alec thought that was just great & they reassured us that they didn't want to see the fireworks show.  They wanted to swim, have fun with grammy and check out downtown Disney one last time.    
bucket relay

Alec took over pouring the water into the jug

pool noodle relay


Beach volleyball with a twist

Name that tune

      
Memory
    We took Ian out to dinner at the Grand Floridian Cafe and then over the Magic Kingdom for the Light parade and fire works show.  The light parade was totally new from the last time we had visited and as everyone moved closer to the castle after the parade, we moved a bit farther away.  We were delighted to learn that Disney threw in a new show between the parade and the fireworks.  They light up the castle and project all sorts of pictures onto it.  The whole show is set to music and has a few fireworks incorporated into it.  I thought it was amazing!  It's my new favorite show at Disney!  We watched the fireworks over the castle and saw Tinker Bell go flying out over the crowd.  It was great!
     We joined the mass exodus from the park and were able to move fairly quickly through the crowd since there was just the three of us.  Instead of heading right for our bus though we headed to the lagoon and watched the flotilla parade for a bit.  Once it ended we headed to our bus and found that the line was only moderately long compared to other lines that were mobbed.  Our bus arrived within moments and we were able to sit down for our ride to the hotel.  I just kept thinking the whole way home how lucky and blessed we have been to be able to enjoy this truly magical vacation together.  I think it will be a while before we manage to top this one, if ever.  We've had no major problems, no major attitudes, tantrums or meltdowns.  We've had lots of fun, little waiting, and an amazing hotel stay.  This trip has brought back so many wonderful memories and helped us make many more. 
Ian in front of the castle


This is the crowd "off " season

playing with this new light string

light parade train

pirate ship

and dragon

the new show

Wreck it Ralph

The Lion king with Timon and Pumba

Up!


Wishes fireworks spectacular

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