Countdown to Walt Disney World 2015…by taking a look at 2012…WDW Day #3

Monday July 16, 2012

Today we headed to EPCOT.

001 Jack and Daddy

003 Mama and Grace

005 Epcot

006 EpcotWe slept in a bit today since we didn’t have lunch reservations until 12:55.  We got there in plenty of time to mosey back to the Canada Pavilion in World Showcase for our lunch at Le Cellier.

008 Le Cellier 009 Le Cellier Victoria Gardens 010 Le Cellier Victoria Gardens 011 Le Cellier Victoria Gardens 012 Le Cellier entranceThe grounds and gardens here were just beautiful.  We got checked in for our lunch reservation and walked right in and were seated immediately.  The inside looks like an old wine cellar.  I loved the atmosphere.017 Le Cellier

022 bread

Seriously, the bread was amazing!  Especially the pretzel bread!

023 fried rock shrimp

024 fruit cup


026 cheddar cheese soup

027 jacks steak and fries

028 filet mignon with mushroom risotto

030 pork chop

031 graces burder

037 chocolate moose


Birthday Chocolate “moose”

038 chocolate moose

We spend the rest of the day hanging out in the World Showcase Pavilions. DS  wanted to do the Agent P World Showcase Adventure.  So we used that as the opportunity to see things.

044 agent p world showcase adventure 044d agent p 044f agent pIt was actually kind of fun, because it caused us to look at things that we might not have seen otherwise.


We spent a bit of extra time in the China pavilion (because it rained), but that store was huge.  DD and I got personalized fans.

046 chine

047 my fan

It’s “supposed” to be my name in Chinese…but who really knows?!?

051 china

Starting to rain, better hurry!


053 jamie and buddhaWe might have been a bit stir crazy!  DH being silly.

055 germany


057 princess

DD the princess!

(you might notice the happy birthday button…DH got tired of wearing it so we may, or may not have taken turns all week wearing it!)

058 german cuckoo clock

This clock reminded me of the one that used to hang on the wall in my grandma and grandpa’s house growing up.

I loved this miniature village.



And then, of course I LOVED the America Pavilion.  I’m a lover of all things American/patriotic.

062 america

We enjoyed the Morocco pavilion.  It’s very pretty.

064 morocco aladin

DS and DD by the “fountain”

066 morocco fountain

Countdown to Walt Disney World 2015…by taking a look at 2012…WDW Day #2

Sunday July 15, 2012

We got up bright and early this morning to get to EPCOT for “rope drop”.

001a Daddy and JackThere wasn’t really anything super special, but it was nice getting there early to get some things accomplished before it got too late in  the morning.

We, of course, rode Soarin’ (which we all loved and ended up riding 2 more times during the week).  We went to Turtle Talk with Crush and rode the Seas with Nemo and Friends and watched Finding Nemo: the Musical.

As soon as World Showcase opened, we headed back to the Japan Pavilion to do Pick a Pearl.  This was something we had decided before coming that we would do while at EPCOT.  We got there and once we started explaining to the DS what it was, he said he wanted to do it too.  So, both kids chose oysters.  DD got a nice one and DS ended up getting TWINS in his oyster!

003 EP Japan Pick a Pearl

Watching the CM shuck their oysters

007 EP Japan Pick a Pearl

Pearls! DS got twins!

009 EP kids with their pearlsIf you notice in that last picture, DD is wearing a silver necklace with a little princess carriage on it.  We bought it off of eBay for less than $4 (s&h included).  It opens to put the pearl in.

We stopped and had lunch at Katsura Grill.  It was a nice little restaurant, kind of hidden from the main path.  We all enjoyed the food and it was a nice little break.  We spend the rest of the afternoon walking around and exploring some of the countries.

We got to meet Belle AND the Beast!  The Beast even did a little dance with DD and twirled her around!

041 Family with Belle and Beast

And Jasmine by the Morocco Pavilion.  I love DD’s face in this picture!044 Jasmine

Every day, in the afternoon, we headed back to the resort to rest/swim.  Then we headed back to a park for the rest of the evening.

This particular evening, we had scheduled dinner at Akershus in the Norway Pavilion.  It was scheduled at 7pm so we got back early enough to ride Maelstrom beforehand.

Then we checked in to our dinner reservation at Akershus.

010 Akershus

The “ROYAL Proclamation”

014 Akershus

CM’s checking us in for dinner

015 Akershus

DS with his autograph book.

016 Grace and Belle

DD with Belle (her most favorite Princess)

020 Grace and Aurora

DD with Aurora

022 Jack and Aurora

DS with Aurora

029 Mama and Ariel

Me with Ariel

031 Grace and Snow White

Snow White signing DD’s autograph book.

032 Snow White

Snow White speaking to the “young prince” who is absolutely ignoring her! LOL!!

033 Jack ignoring snow white

DS wouldn’t even look at Snow White.

035 Parents with snow white

Me and DH with Snow White


Here is our food…mmmmmm…

Because DS was 9 he ordered off the children’s menu each time…and for the most part, just got pizza.  He was pizza’d out by the time we got home.

The other three of us all tried, each meal, to order different food so we could try lots of different things.  I ordered the Mushroom Stuffed Pasta.  I still think about this often.  It was so yummy.

Mushroom Stuffed Pasta

I ordered the Mushroom Stuffed Pasta

036 Traditional Kjottkake

DH ordered the Traditional Kjottkake

037 Oven Roasted Chicken Breast

DD ordered the Oven-Roasted Chicken Breast

038 Dessert

dessert plate

We tried to pace ourselves at EPCOT because there were two other days that we planned to be there for meals.  We also had reservations for Le Cellier at the Canada Pavilion and the San Angel Inn inside the Mexico Pavilion.

We stayed that evening to watch IllumiNations:Reflections of Earth, before heading back to the resort.




Countdown to Walt Disney World 2015…by taking a look at 2012…WDW Day #1

Saturday July 14, 2014

We flew out bright and early and landed in Orlando @ 9:50am.

001 Jack and Daddy on plane

DS(9) & DH

002 Grace and Mama on plane

DD(15) & Me!

As soon as we landed, we were immediately immersed in the “Disney Magic”.

004 Daddy and Mama with the Mouse

We quickly found our way to the Magical Express area and got ready to board the bus to Caribbean Beach Resort!


Ready for the Magical Express!

On our way!

On our way!

Our home for the week!

013 our home for the week

In the lobby getting checked in.

015a lobby

After we got all checked in, they gave the kids some fun items.  I love that they aren’t too old or too cool!  They were such good sports all week, I mean, after all, they were just as excited as I was to be there!  We were all given buttons that said “First Visit”.  So every time we wore them, all week, people said, “Welcome Home!” to us!  It was fun!

016 1st visit pin

017 Pirate and Princess

Since DH’s birthday is at the end of July, they also gave him a “Happy Birthday” button.  We loved that…we got lots of free desserts and some extra attention all week.  He was embarrassed to wear it didn’t love it so much.  So we may, or may not have, taken turns wearing it for him throughout the week!

We got to our room.

018 our room

075 our window

Decorated Window

019 our room

020 our room

021 pirate ship beds

022 our room

023 our room

024 our room

025 our room

026 our room

027 our room

028 our room

030 our room

We loved the room!  It was a great fit, nice and clean, and we seriously were only in it to sleep…

Then we headed to the Animal Kingdom Park for lunch at Tusker House for our ADR.

036 AK entrance

037 Tree of Life

Tree of Life

041 AK lunch

Our first Character meeting!  Donald was so friendly!  I even got a kiss!

045 with Donald

047 Mama with DonaldWe were so hungry and that food was so good that I only took one picture of our food…

060 yummy foodBut everything was yummy.

We all loved the characters.

054b Grace with Mickey

058 Jack with Daisy

059a boys with Mickey

062 kids with Goofy

063b Grace with Daisy

And DH even got his first birthday surprise!

066 birthday cupcake

DH’s first Birthday surprise! Free cupcake!

Then we headed out to explore a bit.  This was the only day we went to Animal Kingdom so we made sure we did the things we knew we HAD to do…

068 Kilimanjaro Safari

100 Nemo

We went to the Finding Nemo stage show…it was amazing! I mean, I was expecting it to be good…but it was far better than good!

101 Jack with Aladar

Of course we had to ride Dinosaur!

105 Kids with Mickey Mouse Ice Cream bars

Our first Mickey Ice Cream bars!

Overall, for our first day, it was a great day.  We didn’t stress out about killing ourselves doing absolutely everything we could.  We knew the basic things and just had a good day.  We ended up getting back to our resort early enough to walk to the Old Port Royale Centertown, the building with the food court, shop and main pool to check things out.  It was a nice leisurely walk along the beach.  DD was excited to see the “real” ducks…

108 graces ducks

All in all, it was a great first day.  We got to bed fairly early so we could start Day #2 bright and early!

Countdown to Walt Disney World 2015…by taking a look at 2012…prep at home

Yes, it’s finally here.  A Disney post!  We went to Walt Disney World in July of 2012…I’m ashamed that it’s been three years and I never posted about that trip.

I have no good excuses, so I’m not even gonna try.  But since I didn’t blog about that trip at the time, I thought a fun way to get myself and the fam ready and excited for this trip coming up, I would post about that trip.  Maybe even share some things along the way that I’ve learned from that trip and will be doing differently this trip.  Who knows!?!

When we got home from that trip, we had to recover from an awesome week and then suddenly we were buying a house and needing to get the other one ready to sell.  Time just slipped by.

So…here we go…

We decided way back in February of 2012 that we would go that summer.  We booked our trip with a local travel agent, who is also a long-time friend from youth group and school.  And I began the researching.  I cannot even begin to tell you how many hours I spent online reading through other people’s blogs of their own trips and what they did and didn’t do, what worked for them, where to stay, where to eat while there, what to do in each park…I’m sure it was HUNDREDS of hours.

I wanted to make sure that trip was as magical for my hubby and kids as it was for me when I went some 26 years ago with my parents and siblings.  I did quite a bit of prep at home before going.

One of the things I did in preparation was make matching t-shirts for us to wear.  Yes, we were THAT family.  I figured this is really going to be a once-in-a-lifetime trip for our family, while the little kids are still home.  Plus, lots of people recommended it just for the sheer ease of quickly spotting each other in the busy-ness of Walt Disney World.  So, I scoured the internet for ideas.  I came up with 2 different shirts to make.  The others we either already had, or I bought them.

Here is one I saw…


I liked the general look of this, and liked the simplicity of it and felt like I could do a version of it myself.  I have a Cricut machine and a friend who loaned me her Mickey And Friends cartridge.  Then I designed the bow myself to get something that I liked a little better.

Here is my version…

Mine and Lovely Daughter’s have a bow and flower pin, while the Hubby and Little Man’s are just the Mickey head.


I bought the red t-shirts, black material, red polka dot material, heat-n-bond and white thread at JoAnn.  Then I just used the Cricut to cut the Mickey heads and and bow and ironed them on and used the zigzag stitch on my old faithful sewing machine (well, it was faithful in 2012…not so much now.  I had to replace it with this beauty!)  I made two little flower pins to add my mine and lovely daughter’s bows.  Those can be removed for washing!  I felt so clever creative!


Since that one seemed easy, I also decided to do a gray shirt for all of us.  I bought a black and gray marble-y looking pattern material for the boy shirts and a gray and pink material for the girl shirts.


I also made autograph books for both kids.










I made each page a little different.  And I “decorated” a Sharpie and attached it with ribbon so we weren’t constantly searching in the bottom of the backpack for the pen.

I also had both kids decorate M&M’s mini’s bottles.  We then filled each of them with 2 quarters, 1 shiny penny, 2 quarter, 1 shiny penny, etc., so they could do the pressed pennies.  After we got the WDW they each purchased a pressed penny folder.  They are taking them back with them this trip to do more…so I had to got to eat some mini M&M’s so they could have the containers.  😉

I think that’s about all for now.  Stay tuned for Disney day 1 coming soon!