We woke up BRIGHT and EARLY. Jon said the park opened at 8am and we wanted to get there right as it opened. We woke the kids up and what do you know? The Easter Bunny visits condos! Outstanding! The sneaky little bunny left the kids chocolates, cadbury eggs, peeps and reeces pieces. The boys each got new sunglasses and Cassie got a cute Hello Kitty pen. It was then hurry up and get ready so we could be out the door.
When we arrived at Epcot, we were one of the first people there. We got primo parking too! Even better, we didn't have to PAY for it!
Driving onto Disney property....
Headed to our parking spot...
Cassie being photo sniped by Jon on our way walking into the park...
One of my favorite pictures from our whole trip...
Well, because our life is such a comedy of errors, it turns out that the time Jon was looking at was the 'Magic Hours'. Meaning, they only let people who are staying in Disney resorts enter the park at that time. So, here were are at about 7:45 with nothing to do but wait for an hour and 15 minutes. I swear, we are a bunch of doorknobs! The Golden Rule for our next visit - VERIFY, VERIFY, VERIFY!
We decided to make the most of our unscheduled down time but hitting up a cute little coffee kiosk right in front of the gates and then hopping the Monorail and riding that back and forth for a bit.
Kids waiting at the Monorail...
We took some more time and mapped out our route for in the park and get an idea on the things that were a 'MUST SEE'...
...and take some quality family pictures. (Although typical Jack wasn't finding any of this funny.)
Yup, that face is about right!
We let the kids run around a bit and do a little window shopping...
There was a cast member there that was manning the entrance that kept throwing these little Mickey Mouse pieces of glitter in the air. The boys grabbed handfuls of them off the ground.
I decided to give myself a tat and see how long it would stay on. The things you do to occupy yourself!
FINALLY, it was time to enter the park!!! Whoohooo! Cassie representing...
Funny, as we walked by this at the entrance, it kinda smelled like strawberries.
How do they do these? They're awesome!
I'm gonna mention something here at this picture. Notice that Jack is not in it? That's because he's a stinker! You're going to find that Jack really does not like posing for pictures with ANY character or anything. So you're mostly going to have pictures with just Cassie and Jason in them. Maybe next time Jack will loosen up a bit.
Our first stop was to see the Nemo attraction. It's one of my favorite movies and we were all excited to see what it was all about!
Love Cassie making the blow fish face here!
There was this super cute ride to go on and the kids loved it! Ok, Jon and I did too!
The thing that I really loved about Epcot was how beautifully it was maintained. There were flowers everywhere (and you all know how much I love flowers!).
We stumbled across Lighten McQueen and Mater...
And whatever this is....
We finally make our way to the part of the park that showcases different countries. First up was Mexico. Jon and I have already decided that the next time we visit, we're going to make a reservation for dinner inside the 'ruins' to eat. It was pretty spectacular inside!
It was like this makeshift Mexican village inside. Then the restaurant had a volcano that would light up the 'sky' and a river that ran between it all. So cool!
There was also a cute little boat ride that you could take. That was really nice and relaxing and the kids loved it.
We make our way from Mexico to Norway and explore all that is Viking! Seems like all really enjoyed this one as well. Doesn't hurt that we all probably have a little bit of viking blood running through us with all our reddish blonde hair and blue eyes. We (well, at least the kids) really do look the part!
I would hate to have to be the one to wash and braid that every day. Yucky! Do you think he stores food in that beard for later?
My viking child #1...
After Norway we head on over to China. I so love the architecture of buildings here.
The ceiling inside the Palace...
Look at all these Army guys...Jason said that he thinks China really wanted to rule the world. I told him I agreed!
Captain Morgan anyone? Put me in the mood for some rum....
Outside the palace they had bush sculptures of all the Chinese signs and since it's the Year of the Rabbit, that one was center stage. What you may not know is that both Jon and I were born under the year of the Rabbit. (Go figure! No wonder why we have all these kids!) So of course we had to pose by our sign!
As I mentioned there were these bush sculptures all over the park of various Disney characters. When we passed by this one, Cassie HAD to get her picture by it. The Lion King was one of her favorite movies as a little girl. Jason and especially Jack, really have no idea what it's about. How sad is that?
Now we enter part of the park I was very excited to be in - GERMANY!!! We made it a point to stop here and eat some German bratwrust and apple strudel with vanilla sauce! YUM!!
I was also very excited when we made our way over to France. It's always been a dream of mine and Jon's to actually go there one day, so this was like the next best thing for us!
A cute little boutique in the middle of 'France'...
We just HAD to get a picture with Cassie under this sign. If you aren't aware, Cassie's nickname since she was just a baby was 'Cass-a-role'.
Beauty and the Best characters were in 'France'...
Of course I had to pose with Belle and the Beast. One of my favorite movies!
A beautiful garden maze...
We then came across this tower from the movie Tangled. Isn't it awesome?
Next up - Italy!
In the plaza was a sculpture of Poseidon. Thank god he's wearing that loin cloth! Yikes!
Right on the banks of 'Italy' they had the gondolas all tied up. I really wish they would make that something you could actually ride across the pond. I would of loved that!
Hey! I still have my Mickey Mouse confetti tat!
A quick snapshot of 'America'. But eh...been there done that. Moving on....
Now we're moving through Japan. The kids went APE over this one! With all the kids (yes, even Cassie) obsessed with Pokemon and all things Japanese, they were in 7th heaven!
They had these bonsai trees all over the place too! They were beautiful. Some were even over 80 years old! Can you imagine training these trees, every day for over 80 years? Now that's dedication!
It was a Pokemon free for all in the gift shops! I've never seen so many Pikachus in my life!!
Not to mention all the cool and unique Japanese food and snacks everywhere! Cassie was in Japan overload!
We're finally able to drag the kids out of there, and head on over to Canada and United Kingdom. On the way, we meet up with Captain Hook!
It's hard to see in the picture but the crocodile from Peter Pan is right behind them.
Canada, eh hosers! Or is this the UK? Oh Bollocks!
We then ran into this somewhat happy cast member handing out sticker. The kids each got one whether they wanted to or not.
Both Cassie and Jason were cracking up over the phone booths. We felt very Austin Powers-ish!
There's just something wonderful and magical about walking into the front gates of Magic Kingdom and seeing Cinderella's castle down the main street in the distance. It kinda just bring the kid of us all out. It was made even better by seeing the looks of pure happiness on the kids faces.
The first thing we did was make our way to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Although in my opinion, it was uber lame. Pretty much the same thing you've seen since the 70's but they just threw Jack Sparrow here or there and called it updated. There's SO much potential with that movie. Maybe they'll smarten up and do a kick ass ride on the Black Pearl or something. But in any case, Jack LOVED it! He absolutely LOVED it!
Another fun ride the kids loved was the Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin. You sit in these carts, and get to shoot 'lasers' to kill Zurg. So FUN!!!
After a much needed snack of ice cream and a good rest just watching people go by, we start making our way to the castle. But first, family picture time!
Right on the outskirts of the castle is a wishing well. I gave each of the kids a penny (and even one for Jon and I) and we all made a wish and tossed our pennies in. I hope our wishes come true!
A few pics of the castle. It's so beautiful!!
By this point, we're all getting pretty plum tuckered out. Jon had been jonesing to take the Liberty Belle Riverboat ride (which is an old fashion paddle boat) that takes a tour around the Tom Sawyer Island. Which if I had known you could take a raft to the island and there's a type of adventure playground for the kids to play on, we would of done that. Next time!
Us chilling out on the boat ride...
Cassie on the verge of teenage exhaustion...
We really didn't get a lot of time to spend roaming all through the MK, since we wanted to be back to Epcot to watch the Illuminations show at night.
Once it hit dusk, they had all these groovy lights all over the pavement. Made for walking to the perfect watching spot that much more exciting.
The night ended with the Illuminations show that was just spectacular! I'm so glad Jon talked us into staying to watch it. It was hard to get good pictures (kinda like trying to catch the brilliance of a firework) so I highly recommend making it a special treat to catch it! You won't be sorry!!!
So that ends our very LONG day of park hopping! We make our way back to our van and exhaustedly head back to our condo where it was showers for everyone. You wouldn't believe how grimy you can get from walking around the park all day! It was nasty!! But it didn't take long for us to fall into bed sound asleep, preparing for the next day!