Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Disneyworld: Part 2 - Around the Resort

Outside our room, things were just as magical! When you arrive in the lobby, there are artist sketches lining the walls of all the favorite Disney characters.  The "Cast Members" that work at the resort are seriously some of the friendliest people you will ever meet.  They greeted the kids with balloons and everyone was always so happy and helpful.  I guess you are out of luck if you are having a bad day and you work there.  Better perk up and act happy!

The pool area was pretty unbelievable.  They have the biggest pool on Disneyworld property (of course, only until the next new hotel is built and builds a bigger one!) and it is decked out in the Finding Nemo theme.  The coolest feature is that when you go under water, you hear characters from the movie talking to you.  

Every night at 9pm they blow up a big movie screen and play Disney movies while you swim.  The first night we were there, the boys enjoyed Tangled as we had a late night swim.

In the Cars area where we stayed, the sidewalks looked like roads and there were life-size cars from the movie along the way.  The entrances to the buildings looked like movie sets, and in fact, they were shooting commercials to advertise the resort while we were there! Steve had to sign a waiver to get in the pool one afternoon because they were shooting a "model" family in the pool.  But even though there were film crews and cameras everywhere, they never asked you to stay out of the way or blocked anything off.  They were all incredibly friendly, greeting people as they walked by.  These Disney people know a little something about customer service!

We stayed in the Luigi building...
Seriously.  How cute is Mater?  And that little boy standing next to him is pretty darn cute, too.  :-)

We were so glad my Mom was with us on our trip.  It was so fun to experience everything with her!

It started to rain, and Caleb was no longer able to focus on smiling for the camera.  He was trying to catch rain drops.

With Nana, last picture before the real afternoon rainstorm started.  Next up, the Magic Kingdom!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Disneyworld: Part 1 - Our Room at Disney's Art of Animation Resort

When we left Jacksonville, we headed to the happiest place on earth.  My Mom had discovered a brand new resort on Disney property that was opening this summer called Disney's Art of Animation Resort.  They had family suites that were decorated completely in either Finding Nemo or Cars (the Little Mermaid and Lion King buildings are still under construction.)  With two little boys, the Cars family suite was right up our alley.

We were the first people to ever stay in our room.  It was totally decked out to please the kids but in a really tasteful and livable way.  It got two big thumbs up from all of us!  There was a bedroom with its own bathroom, a dining area with a table that turned into a bed (more on that later) and a couch that made into a really comfortable bed.  There was also a little kitchenette and another full bathroom off the living area.

This was the dining table/murphy bed.  All you had to do was move the chairs out of the way and pull the handles on the bed.  The bed came down and the table collapsed and became the foundation for the bed.  Genius!  Then in the next image, you can see the bed pulled down and the boys asleep.  There was a picture above their heads with a built in nightlight...a dimmer switch controlled the moon and light on Mater's barn.  Again...genius.  What fun touches for little kids to enjoy!

This is the bed pulled down and the boys snuggled down for the night.  The picture of Mater above their heads was complete with a built in night light in the form of the moon and the light above Mater on the barn.  A dimmer switch controlled how bright the lights in the picture got.  Seriously?  Genius again.

"Mickey" knew that Seth and Caleb's birthdays were both this summer (Seth's was earlier that week and Caleb's was the next month) so "Mickey" had balloon bouquets delivered to our room.  Thanks "Mickey"!  They had balloons that sang and a big stuffed Mickey at the bottom.

If you are planning a trip to Disneyworld and staying on the property, I would highly recommend this resort. Wait until you see what it looked like outside our room!

Sunday, July 22, 2012


The next day of our trip we headed to Jacksonville, Florida.  My aunt and uncle live there, along with one of my cousin's and his wife, so we planned to stay two nights visiting with them.  We had a great time visiting and catching up.

First stop after 7 hours in the car - their neighborhood pool!

My Mom and her sister look a bit alike...
Uncle Mark catching Caleb.

Happy Little Fish!

The next day was Father's Day, so we visited their church in the morning and went to the beach in the afternoon.  There is a great beach about 20 minutes from their house that you can drive right out onto the sand.  When you have kids and lot's of gear (towels, sand toys, sunscreen, snacks, drinks, chairs...), this is a really great thing!

Seth's first ever attempt at boogie boarding.

Going out to catch a wave...

The beach is Caleb's happy place.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

U.S.S. Alabama

On Day Two of our Florida trip, we woke up in Mobile, AL and went to the U.S.S. Battleship that sits in Mobile Bay.  If you are ever heading east towards Florida, this is a great place to stop and share a little history with your kids.

USS Alabama
Photo By Robert D Bruce

The boys with Nana trying to spot boats out at sea.


A totally random picture whose sole purpose is to prove that Steve was on the battleship with us.  He was taking most of the pictures and didn't get in many.