Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Family Vacation 2015...Walt Disney World and Dog Island, Florida!

We just got back a few days ago from an EPIC family vacation!  We took a few days to drive to Orlando, Florida where we met our friends the Edmonds for our first ever visit to Walt Disney World!  We stayed six nights at a resort complete with several pools and a pool slide, mini golf, restaurants, and bars, which we fully enjoyed in between visiting the Magic Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Disney's Animal Kingdom.  It was a long, action-packed week!  The Disney parks are huge, hot, and crowded which proved challenging at times for both the kids and the parents.  Overall though we all had fun and we believe the kids really did experience some magic.  Cooper's favorite was probably Typhoon Lagoon, as he LOVES waterparks.  (Mom and the girls stayed at the resort that day and relaxed!)  Penny most enjoyed meeting the princesses and watching the parades, mostly because she got to see more princesses.  All of us, even Ellie, loved all the shows!  We saw The Lion King (hands down best one), Beauty and the Beast, Finding Nemo, Indiana Jones, and Frozen.   We went to Disney expecting to be glad we had crossed it off our list, but on the drive home we actually discussed not if but when we would be back!  

As if a week in Orlando wasn't enough, we continued our vacation by driving to Carabelle, Florida in order to catch a boat over to Dog Island, Florida.  Our friends' friends had invited us to spend a few days at their beach house with them!  We thoroughly enjoyed three nights spent on a remote island with a nearly secluded beach.  It was the perfect way to decompress after a week at Disney!  Thank you so much Mark and Ginger for having us!!

Naturally our story should end there, yet it doesn't!  After the beach, we met up with Ma-Mas and Pa-Pa for a night in New Orleans! We enjoyed a stroll through the Quarter and a fantastic meal.  (You can NOT beat the seafood or the service in New Orleans. Period.)  The next morning was the beginning of an adventure for Cooper and Penny.   They boarded an Amtrak train with Ma-Mas and Pa-Pa and rode all the way to San Antonio while Mama, Daddy, and Ellie made the nine hour drive back to Boerne.  Cooper, our train connoisseur, loved every second of his first real train trip.  Overall, we were gone 12 days!  We had a great time but it was so nice to sleep in our own beds and get our dogs back!  Who knows what we'll come up with to do next year!

Downtown Disney!  Giant dragons and things made of legos!
Cooper right at home on the slide at our resort.
Penny spent a lot of time in the pool too!
Truly the Magic Kingdom didn't  host a lot of rides that interested Penny.  She sure loved the carousel though!
"Meet the Characters" lunch...Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates!
Sophia the First!
All the first day, Cooper begged for us to buy him a misting fan to keep cool.  We kept refusing, because of Disney's insane prices.  At the end of the day, however, we let each kid choose ONE toy from a souvenir shop.  Guess what he beelined for?
Our final park day was spent at Disney's Animal Kingdom.  First up, a safari!  We got to see tons of cool animals including a lion, elephants, and a gorilla, to name a few.  
Kali River Ride!  Everyone stayed relatively dry...except Mama!
First night after Disney...the beach was a welcome sight.
Cooper, right where he should be...by the water.
Penny loves the beach!
Beach baby! Our hosts ingeniously brought a canopy and a baby pool so the little ones could have fun out of the sun!