Or how we went completely overboard and spent way more than we budgeted for! So, the trip as a whole was amazing. We had a great time with the family, especially the boys with their bigger cousins! Our group totaled out at 15 people and included the double stroller and 2 powered wheelchairs. It was pretty funny seeing us go through the parks! Really I could spend hours talking about the trip but I promise I'm trying to keep it to highlights!
Ok, so we went overboard in the souvenir department, specifically in trading pins. Goodness they are expensive. No we don't trade them, we collect them for the memory of each trip. Each of the kids has their own lanyard and they get a new pin for each trip and the new things they do. Example: Keirnan's first roller coaster- space mountain pin to remember it! At least this is a cost that will go down as the boys get older and run out of firsts!!! Lol This trip we also had a bonus souvenir in Owen's first haircut at the Main Street Barber Shop at the Magic Kingdom! For $18 he got his haircut, a certificate, a little moments lock of his hair, and a pair of Mickey Ears hat are embroidered with "My first haircut!" Best souvenir ever!
I am a dining plan lover and this trip did not fail to meet our culinary expectations. We always get the dining plan for a few reasons. The first is the price is great for what you get. The second, is we do character meals for most of our sit down meals. This saves a lot of time in not having to wait in Charater greeting lines! They come right to our table while we enjoy our food!!
This was Owen's first Disney trip and I was worried how he would do with all his food allergies. (Egg, soy, banana, garlic, and peanuts) let me tell you, I can't say enough good things about the chefs at every Disney restaurant we ate at that week! Every single meal the chef came out to discuss the menu with me. If it was a buffet, like Chef Mickey and the Disney Jr Character Breakfast at Hollywood Studios, they walked the entire thing with me telling me the ingredients of each item. My baby was clearer that week than he has ever been! And not once did anyone make me feel bad for making them do extra work. He had so many special dishes made just for him, I can't remember them all. Basically, I really am in love with the restaurants at Disney and how easy they made it for us!
This trip my mother-in-law bought our group the Memory Maker pass. I am now a convert. Before, I'd always discounted it as frivolous spending because I have my own camera and the photographers are always happy to snap a pic with your camera/ phone. But it was the best thing to have! We spent a good amount of time together, but there were some parts of each day that we broke into groups or the older kids went off on their own. Memory Maker made sure we got all the pictures in one place. Since we were the for Star Wars Weekend, there were a lot of extra photo spots around Hollywood Studios that the kids loved stopping at. We ended up with over 200 photos and I didn't have to fret over losing my camera while on a ride and was in the pictures, enjoying the experiences too! (Like this photo, which is very rare I'm told! Multiple cast members told me these two bounty hunters, while out in the same spot together, rarely do photos together. They came on over without prompting for this shot! And their camera guys went nuts!)
I did find a new and in my opinion great tip- renting a stroller! Since we drove to FL and were only going to need the big stroller in the parks, we rented. It was $100 to rent a baby jogger double city mini. This stroller was my dream stroller but we decided it wasn't worth the expense on our last child. It was fun to use one for a week though! And the bonus was all that extra space not wasted in the van and we got a deposit back, meaning it was actually cheaper to rent that for the week than it would have been to get one of the plastic park strollers! Did I mention they delivered and picked it up at our hotel front desk? Fab!
Keirnan got to ride his first roller coaster at the Magic Kingdom- Space Mountain! It was my first coaster as a child too, so I loved that! And he rode it a couple times! James got his first coaster too- we got there a week after The Seven Dwarf's Mine Train opened and we managed to get on it twice! We all enjoyed it, though it is definitely kid friendly!
We spent only a day at Universal and Islands of Adventure. Due to crowds and rain the only Harry Potter ride we did was the Flight of the Hippogriff. It's a small kids coaster that James and I enjoyed through the rain. We also went in to get everyone wands (and I got a house scarf!) and had some Butterbeer. It was yum!
After Orlando we spent a day visiting with Will's Nanny and family before spending some time with my family in Clearwater. We got in some mini golf before getting rained off the beach. (Boo) But we did get some good pool time at my Aunt and Uncle's house!
Our next stop was Panama City with the other part of Will's family. It was nice enough while there to enjoy a fabulous beach day! The boys had a blast playing in the water and sand, and we got some mandatory mini golf at Coconut Creek in too!
Then it was time to head toward home, with a stop in Huntsville, AL at the Space and Rocket Center. Oh, my space crazy boys loved it! They all managed to come home with a ton of souvenirs and some great memories of their family.