We were over the halfway point of our trip. All of our bones and muscles were starting to feel it! But we pressed on, there was so much more to see. We have already decided that on our next Disney adventure we will schedule more down time. It is such a tough choice to make…but I think Disney World can be a great place to strike a balance between trip and vacation! You just have to be okay with missing some things for the sake of a little R&R.
It was Saturday and we knew it best to avoid Magic Kingdom on the weekend, so we went to EPCOT again to finish up what we didn’t get to on Thursday. Of course there was time for the family picture upon arriving. Notice the sun glaring in Allie’s face and me looking down with a fake smile on my face at the boys who were messing around….classic! And why is there like 5 feet between Matt and I? I think we were still feeling the love after 5 straight days together as a family:)
It seems funny to write this as I look outside at feet of snow on the ground, but day 5 of our trip was cold. It was a high of 60 and there was a brisk wind. Allie didn’t seem to mind the cooler temps!
The first ride of the day was Ellen’s Energy Adventure. We plugged our ears at all of the not-so-biblical explanations of our world and enjoyed the very cool dinosaur animatronics. This ride is pretty intense for little ones, but by this point, I think our brood was too tired to care!
Matt and his dad went on Test Track and we hung out with the kids and waited for a bit.
Next we started the journey around the world by going to the World Showcase. Our first stop was Mexico. It is a lot of fun just to browse through the shop inside the Mexico pavilion. I think everyone has this sombrero picture in their Disney scrapbook!
After riding on the Gran Fiesta boat ride in Mexico, it was time for lunch. Our options were Mexican (ha!) or Moroccan. We choose Mexican. We ate at the counter service stop called La Cantina. The food was authentic (read:not Taco Bell) so I wasn’t sure the kids would like it. We paid the highest amount that we had all week for lunch, close to $50, and to my surprise, the kids did eat it. This restaurant had a gorgeous view of the World Showcase.
I really think EPCOT is a cool place. The countries each offer a great deal of wonderful entertainment and interesting shopping and eating. However, I think if I had to skip one park for toddlers, this might be it. EPCOT is big, there aren’t many “rides”, and much of the cultural stuff is over their heads. We spent two days here this time because last year we hadn’t gone there at all. I think one day would be plenty if you were selective about what you did.
Matt and I both love the Norway ride. The whole viking theme just cracks me up and I also love this enormous troll that you walk by as you exit through the gift shop.
Allison, my sweet little viking.
Gotta love this boy!
While touring China, we were on the lookout for Mulan. She was very sweet and the kids loved meeting her as they had watched the movie before our trip.
Now is the time when I take a brief pause in talking about our day at EPCOT and tell you about caramel. You see, there is this new shop in Germany (you can read about it here) that is so amazingly, sinfully, lusciously fabulous that you must go there when you visit EPCOT. The shop specializes in caramel and offers everything from caramel dipped apples, to caramel and chocolate covered marshmallows, to caramel covered pecans. It is a little piece of heaven…trust me!
As we waited in line, we captured a few pictures of our faces filled with anticipation of the deliciousness about to come.
This place could really blow your food budget, I think we spent only about $14. Matt got a caramel and chocolate pecan cluster, I got marshmallows on a stick covered in chocolate and caramel, and the kids split a gigantic rice crispy treat covered in the what else…chocolate and caramel. The rice Krispy treat was a great buy (under $4) because it was the size of a brick (literally) and I asked the girl at the counter if she could cut it into four pieces. The kids loved it, and they also loved my marshmallow.
You probably won’t believe me when I say this, but I’m on the fence as to whether it was easier to have 4 kids in diapers at Disney last year than to have 3 potty trained and 1 in diapers. If I had a dollar for all of the trips to the potty we made in those 8 days, I’d be rich. Of course the kids never had to go all at the same time…and there is no convincing a three year old to go when he/she doesn’t “feel it coming!” Our diaper-change-stops last year were quick, efficient, and on our time schedule. This year we had urgent sprints to find a bathroom, like this one…
As we were finishing up our sweet treat, Brady grabs himself and says, “I have to go pottyyyyyyyy!” When this boy says he has to go, you have like 10 seconds to get him to the bathroom. Not wanting to miss a thing, he holds it until the last possible minute and then the rush is on to find a bathroom.
I picked him up and told the others that we would meet them in the toy shop. I looked around at my German surroundings, having no idea where the nearest bathroom was. I saw a sign for the Biergarten Restaurant and went running, carrying Brady who just kept saying, “Hurry!” I rushed past the hostess as she asked me if we had a reservation and suddenly we were running through a huge German banquet hall. There were people who looked like they stepped out of the Sound of Music performing on stage, and buffets of sausage and sauerkraut all around us. I saw the bathroom in the distance and just kept hustling my way through the crowd. We made it to the bathroom and I plopped Brady on the potty. We had made it! As I was waiting for Brady to finish and trying to catch my breath, Brady says, “Mommy, this place smells bad. Even the bathroom smells bad.” I think he was referring to the overwhelming smell of sauerkraut that yes, even stunk up the bathroom. This little bathroom trip in Germany will always be a funny memory of our 2011 trip!
We relaxed a little bit at the American Adventure Pavilion. The kids had some fun playing follow the leader in a garden next to the building.
Our final stop in the World Showcase was the United Kingdom. We spotted Alice in a pretty garden and got in line to meet her. I’ll never forget Eli saying to her, “Hey Alice in Wonderland, I’ve got a new toy.” To which she replied, “Oh, you have a Mickey!” Eli answered, “No, it’s a new stick!” He then showed her some random stick he had picked up along the way.
Grandma and Grandpa had a dinner reservation at Artist Pointe in the Wilderness Lodge, so they left us in the late afternoon. Right before we said goodbye to them, we got to meet Chip and Dale. They were some of the most fun and playful characters that we met all week!
We had completed the World Showcase, but we weren’t sure if we wanted to leave EPCOT just yet. We decided to redo some of the attractions that we saw earlier in the week. Crowds were very low, so we went on the Nemo ride again and explored the Living with the Seas Pavilion some more. I found a hidden Mickey in one of the large aquariums.
Sometime between Saturday and Sunday, Disney World got very busy! Tomorrow we would be shocked at how crowded everything had become. And I would take part in a my fist official race…the Toy Story Mania Fast Pass race! Stay tuned…