Sharks! Do they have teeth? Can you swim with them? Are they robots? These were Kody's questions as we approached Typhoon Lagoon. As we entered shark alley I asked Kody if he was sure he wanted to swim with the sharks. He looked at me and said yes, but I said let's look and see what you think. When we entered the viewing ports and he was so excited with what he saw that he started to point out all the sharks, rays, and fish that were swimming in the water, and was so determined to swim with them. I was a little hesitant to let him try because he had never worn a mask and snorkel before, but I put that fear aside and got us a mask and snorkel.
We waited for the safety debrief and tried on his mask and snorkel (let's just say they are not made for 4 year olds)
. I snugged it up as tight as it would go and let him try the snorkel and mask together and I got a thumbs up. He said he was good so we approached the water and I got in and let him slide in and put his face in the water. Before I could get my mask on he popped up and said he wanted to get out. He said the water was to cold, but I think his masked had leaked at the top and ultimately scared him. If I would have checked the top seal like I did the sides, we would have been fine and still swimming today. The water was definitely chilly, but I hardly noticed it as I was a proud PAPA for Kody trying to swim with sharks. How awesome is that for a 4 year old!?!? He said he wanted to try again when he was bigger and had practiced with a mask and snorkel more. I may have found another dive buddy!
Inside the park we made our base camp by the kids play area which is just beyond the wave pool. Kody was determined to get in the wave pool so we put on our lotion and got in the water. I had both kids by myself when the first wave sounded. I had each of them by their hands as a 3 foot waved barreled down on us. Both kids were screaming with excitement before the wave hit, but as it pounded us Noel started to cry. This ended her day in the wave pool as Papaw took her to build sandcastles. Kody and I played in the surf some more before we found mama to ride the inner tube rides. We had a blast with the adult versions as little Noel fell in love with the kids version. She rode it over and over and over, just like the energizer bunny.
We were having a great time at the park when Kody slipped on a step busting his shin. We made a quick stop at the first aid station where we were promptly bandaged and sent on our way. Nothing a few water slides couldn't cure
. We even managed to squeeze in the lazy river, but finished the afternoon in the kid’s area blasting each with water cannons. I think the dads had more fun with this than the kids. Now I know what it’s like to be the king pirate for the day!
What do you do when you are standing in a line at Disney World? In our family you play bubble pop. Never heard of that game. For a small fee I can teach you! Its a fairly complicated game that requires sticks of gum and a little bit of courage, because as you blow a bubble with your gum the kids are swinging at full force to pop the bubble. This game became a hit as it was created by Amanda. My favorite part of the game was when the kids would miss the bubble and smack Amanda in the face or nose. This made my day, but you knew I couldn't pass out on the fun. However I wasn't nearly as brave as Amanda and wouldn't stick my face out so Kody and Noel could get a big swing at me. This little game actually made the wait time for the Kilimanjaro safari go by quickly.
As we boarded the jeep, both kids were ready to go on safari. This trip turned out to be one of the best safari rides we've ever had as we had great views of giraffes, baby elephants, and lions. Although these animals were great to see, it was the first time we had ever seen the cheetahs up and moving. One them actually appeared to be on the prowl for an Ostrich that was walking in front of his area. I'm sure he was thinking dinner!
Other key attractions for the kids was Dinoland! Both Noel and Kody love to dig here
. Papaw Davis and Alison took them in the dig as well as down some of the slides. Kody wanted to ride some rides so Alison tool him on the Triceratops ride, but of course as soon as Noel found out he was riding she had to have a turn as well. Kody didn't want to ride again so I took him to the game and carnival section of Dinoland. He wanted to play some games and I said sure but just remember you don't win or get a prize every time. He's not a good loser, but he comes by that honestly. So he tried his hands at a few games, and would always turn to me at the end and I ask did I win. I would say no, and he would give a sad face and say let's play again. We finally wound up at a game where you roll balls into a hole and based on how many points you got would move your dino. There were about 4 people playing so I thought I would try my luck with him to improve our odds of winning. We were off to races and I fell behind early, but Kody was doing well. I made my move and took the lead and held off until the end. Kody looked at me and said did I win, and this time I said we won. About that time the man running the game handed Kody a saber tooth tiger. Kody was so excited and started jumping up and down, and I've never seen him this excited over a prize. I asked him if he wanted me to try and win Noel a prize, and he said Yes. I ventured over to the basketball shoot to see if I could win one more prize, but I wasn't sure if I could hit the money ball. First shot short, second shot a brick, but that third shot hit the rim and bounced in. Kody jumped with excitement as he realized I had won his sister a prize. We got a blue basketball bear, and he grabbed it and ran to Noel saying look at what I got you. I never realized how much excitement two little animals would bring to them. One of my favorite days of all time at Animal Kingdom.
We all know that Epcot is known for its countries of the world, but did you know that they are known for hosting some spectacular events
. Throughout the spring Epcot is the host of the flower and garden festival which is an impressive time for all those gardeners out there. As we made our tour around for the princesses we made sure to check out all the topiarys (that's flower displays for folks like me). They had the fab five, Captain Hook, Snow White, and many more. The time and intricacy to build each of these is impressive. Not only are the shapes inspiring, but the touch of color added makes the displays almost come to life. The Snow White display just needed her dwarfs to start whistling and singing to make you feel as though you were in the movie. My favorite part of the flower show was Pixie Hollow. Yes, I know this is the home of Tinkerbell and all her friends, but the color of flowers and the intricacy of the characters made this my favorite. Noel and Kody not only liked the floral sculptures, but each fairy had their home modeled and it was a scavenger hunt for the kids to figure out who lived where. All I kept hearing was "who's house is this, is it Tinkerbell's?" Then they saw it! A playground. It had only been a few days since they were able to cut loose on a playground. Noel had found on earlier one her princess expedition, but this was the first one for Kody. They enjoyed being able to run around and interact with the other kids, but for us adults it was also a nice way to sit down and relax.
Now if you don't want to just see flowers during the show, each night Epcot has a musical performance in America from various artists. This is not a big deal to me, but for my music loving wife she is always checking out who is performing. This trip had the "Guess Who" , and Alison, Bill, and Becky made sure to check them out. By all reviews, it was an excellent show. Besides you can't beat the price of admission. Free with your ticket to Epcot!
Light, Camera, Action
! That is what Hollywood Studios is all about. We typically only come here for one ride and one ride only, and that is Toy Story Mania! If you don't get there at the opening of the park the fast pass tickets will be gone, and even if you are there at opening time the wait time is usually 60 plus minutes and the fast pass if 6 hours away. We got our fast passes this morning and headed to the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground. Noel and Kody love to climb through the cargo nets that is supposed to look like a spider web. After playing for about 40 minutes we split the kids up and today. I went with Kody. He wanted to go to the Backstage Tours which worked out well, because we were able to see some of the cars from stunt show and a few special effects. Kody enjoyed the water cannons from the water scene, but when there explosions with fire balls he would hide behind Amanda and myself. The next stunt with an expoding semi and a catostrophic flood kept his attention. Since this was the first time ever wanted to ride this ride I was surprised when he said the exploding water cannons was his favorite. I really thought the explosions and fires would top the charts, but this was his least favorite part of the ride.
After this ride we went to the Star Wars ride. This is a cool ride as it is a simulator with several different scenes that you go through. The last time Kody and I rode this he wasn't to keen on riding it, but he wanted to try again
. Amanda and I got on the ride with him and if you are a high risk for motion sickness this is ride you will want to pass on. Somehow I was able to make it through, but I definitely felt the sweat start pouring out of me. As we exited the ride Kody said that was Awesome and wanted Amanda to take his picture on the Storm Scooter. Since Kody was with Amanda and myself, Noel had set up an adventure with Bill, Becky, and Alison. They made a stop at the Beauty and the Beast show. I was told Noel was transfixed on the show and had a major meltdown when it was over. She wanted to Belle some more. Her and her princesses!
Our time for Toy Story Mania finally approached and Kody wanted to ride with me while Noel rode with Alison and Papaw Davis. If you have never road this ride you put on your 3D glasses and have a string in your car that you pull to shoot various objects at targets. Its a lot like the game for the WII, but riding in a cart makes it more fun. Kody and I spun and shot and just had a great time, and off in the distance I could see Noel really enjoying it as well. She actually cried when we had to get off the ride. Now a lot of the rides at Hollywood Studios aren't geared towards young kids, but I think in about 3 more years we will be able to sit down and ride some of the bigger rides like Rockin' Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror.
The parks at Disney vary in activities for the kids, but on this trip I rank their favorites as Magic Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood studios. Epcot could slide in to the top for Noel due to the princess experience, but Kody still likes the rides at Magic Kingdom and he want to make sure we hit them all.