Sunday, July 6, 2014

M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E Part 2

The second stop was on Disney's Castaway Cay, which was by far our favorite day of the whole trip. First, we loved that we could get on and off the ship easily and still be at the island without an hour of transporting. Because of that, that morning we ran a 5K with our cruise bellies and all. I'm not going to say it was easy.  Good grief we had eaten an incredible amount of food, but it was totally worth it. The island had free strollers on it (another amazing perk) and Henley was great until the end of the race and that's when things got a little ugly. 

To cure a major meltdown, Goofy, Mickey, and Donald were posing for pictures on our way back to the ship. She was hesitant the night before about the characters, but quickly warmed up to them. Enough to give kisses and pose with them by herself for pictures. Do you love my cherry red face in all of them? Yeah, it took me waaaayyyy too long to cool down after the race.

After breakfast and a shower we went back out to explore the island. They had free food all over the island, water tubes, wagons and a splash pad...almost every toddler's dream.

We spent at least an hour before and after the beach at the splash pad. It was love at first splash. 

 Just lounging in the wagon after a long day of work.
This beach was made for families. Disney knows what they are doing. They had lawn chairs, towels and umbrellas to use, making the day much more fun and allowed for Henley to take a nap on me and gear up for the second half of the day.

On this trip we became the parent's that wear their shirts and cover-ups in all pictures. Not sure what made us hit that point in our lives, but it happened.
These little stranger girls were so nice to Henley and were great to let her use their bucket for a little while. The water and sand were gorgeous and we tried to soak in as much as we could. 

In the background in the picture above you can kind of see two water slides. I wish I would have taken a picture of them cause they were a blast. They are in the middle of the ocean so you have to swim out to them to go down. We did it a handful of times and it was incredible. I have never done a slide that spills you out into the ocean. Definitely a must do.
 I don't know if you can tell, but this is the end of the day. We were happy and completely trashed.
Tyler quickly became Henley's favorite. It is probably because he could not have cared less if she liked him.

 For dinner that night, they had a pirate theme. Let's just say that we look amazing in bandanas.
You know on cruises how the food is endless? Well, Summerisa talked us into going to a late night buffet to get one of these bad boys...a gigantic turkey leg. It honestly made me sick to even have it close to my mouth. Where do they breed these human-sized turkeys anyway?
 More ducks + more splash pad = more love

 On the last night of the cruise, Summerisa gave us special VIP passes to meet all of the characters. She also gave Henley an Anna princess dress.
Every time we took a picture with a character that wasn't wearing a mask, Henley didn't care. I don't think she understood why we were taking a picture with someone that looked completely normal.
The gang's all here!! 

The day we got off the ship we headed straight for Animal Kingdom where we spent half of a day and then sped to the airport. It was an exhausting day, but so much fun. Pretty sure I was too tired to take any pictures. All in all it was a superb family trip. Disney cruises are the way to go for kids and adults. We had such a good time at the performances and the stops. They always had stuff going on for all age groups. A great vacation to end our grad school journey!

Saturday, July 5, 2014


It has been too long since I have blogged, but after realizing how long it has actually been I figured I should jump on the bike again. So much has changed...for now I am just going to talk about our vacation back in April because it was fantastic. Prepare yourself for picture overload. 

For our vacay, which we justified for many reasons, we went on a DISNEY cruise!! Yep, they are crazy expensive and the only way we were able to go was due to Richard's sister and her husband. You see, they were performers on the ship for a year (Aladdin and Xyzma) so we got on the ship for FREE. FREE-99!!! As long as we paid for our airfare and a couple nights in a hotel, the rest was paid for. Why wouldn't we go?! So we set off to Florida to have the time of our lives. Here is a disclaimer, like any vacation with a toddler it wasn't all butterflies and rainbows, but for the majority we look back on the good times and laugh at the extremely tough times. 
We took a flight that had three connections (sigh) was cheaper. We thought it was going to be terrible however Henley was impressively good and manageable. When we got to the hotel a worker gave her a balloon and she ran around the lobby and our hotel room for a good two hours just enjoying her independence.

We stayed at the All-Sports Disney resort and it was perfect for us. Huey, Dewey and Louie were right outside our room and we made at least a 15 min pit-stop to greet and wish them goodnight each time we passed. Who needs a cruise when you have these ducks to entertain?!

We went a couple of days early so we could enjoy the hotel for a day and hit up DisneyWorld. The day at the hotel was so relaxing. Swimming twice, lots and lots of wandering around the hotel grounds, and three trips to McDonald's. (The food at the hotel was insanely expensive and McDonald's was within walking distance, so we let fast food win. Don't judge.)

This picture is more for me. Henley went through this phase of wrapping all of my shirts around her neck and head.
Tyler, Rich's little brother, flew in a day later than us and we met up. In the picture above we were on the tram to DisneyWorld. We made it all the way there and didn't end up going in. To not bore you with all of the details, let's just say that this day didn't work out in our favor. It was a bummer. On the bright side, Rich is pulling off the "hard guy" face pretty well.
When we got on the ship they had an amazing welcome party, with music, dancing and a bunch of Disney characters. Henley loved it...heck, we loved it. We ate the free ice cream until our stomach's hurt and danced the day away with streamers in hand.
The next day our first stop was Nassau, Bahamas. Summerisa was nice enough to be our tour guide and direct us to the stuff that really mattered and bypass the other tourist traps. First, we hit up the Queen's Staircase. It was majestic in all sense of the word. We all loved it. Notice she is still carrying around a streamer. That is her type of toy.

After the Queen's Staircase we did a little shopping and Henley, being a normal toddler, wanted everything. We finally settled on a set of maracas and a little pull turtle. The shop owners loved talking to her and one even picked her up and bounced her around. Mama was not a fan of that. 
Next we went over to Atlantis and the beach. At this point we were sooooo sweaty and extremely tired, so by the time we got to the beach all we wanted was shade and a nap. I wish I could say we loved our time at this beach...Henley cried for most of it and constantly had sand sticking to her over sunscreened body. She eventually gave up the sand fight and instead embraced it. Also I got knocked down by a wave and along with my body slamming down, my swim bottoms went down too. Many people got to see my full moon that day and much more. Awesome.

The beach was beautiful and if we were to go back I would have done the beach first and the other attractions later so we could have enjoyed it more. Luckily we had other beach times that were much more successful.
That night we were back on the ship and felt privileged to meet our first characters in their formal attire. You can kind of see Henley's excitement above but it doesn't do it justice. She jabbered on and on about the character until we got up close and then froze. Then the second we stepped away she couldn't stop talking and pointing. 
Those first few days we had some good times, but the best was yet to come. Stay tuned.