Monday, October 15, 2012

Disney Birthday Extravaganza

Dear Ian,

Whew.  We survived a wild and wonderful weekend, and I'm already sorry it's over.  We had a great time, and I think you had a complete blast.

Our weekend started with a bit of a mess.  We had to get our taxes done, sorta last minute thing, so we got off to a later start than what we wanted.  And THEN our car threw a "service engine soon" light, so we had to get her checked out before we drove 500 miles, but we did eventually get on the road and get things underway.  For the trip, I packed you a little basket of fun Disney-themed stuff to keep you occupied (see left).  There was a thermos for your water, stickers, a great book and some crayons and a magnadoodle.  Peanut, your stuffed elephant, was just sorta along for the ride.  Anyhoo.  We played convoy with the Liedy family, stopped for dinner at Bob Evans and made it to our hotel around 9pm or so.  After an adventure blowing up the air mattress for you, we finally all got settled.  After what felt like a 20 minute nap for Mommy, we got up and our Disney Day was finally here!!

You and Issa had a quick snack of dry cereal to hold you over for our big breakfast surprise: breakfast at Ohana in the Polynesian Resort.  You're a lucky little kiddo as this is your second time there, and to be honest, Mommy has been daydreaming about this breakfast since your first trip 18 months ago.  It lived up to the hype.  Man, it's good.  But the best part of the breakfast, for littles like you, is the chance to meet some of the Disney characters without a zillion-hour long wait.  Pluto, Mickey, Lilo and Stitch all visited our table.  You got their autographs in a little (purple) spiral notebook that Mommy bought at the dollar store, and you were so proud of them.  And you grinned like a little nut as they signed and posed with you.  And then we got to parade around the restaurant with maracas.  You really got into that part.  Since I told the Disney friends that it was your birthday, you got a really neat button and, with it, all kinds of neat little perks.  More about some of those later, but at Ohana, you got a cupcake!  They even put a candle in it that Daddy lit and we all sang Happy Birthday to you.  The Liedys gave you a Fisher Price camera that really works as a birthday gift and you just LOVED it.  More on that later, too.  Here are a few more pictures from our breakfast at Ohana...
 Our family at Ohana!  October 13, 2012
 You in the special shirt I made you (forgot to mention that I made you a special Disney shirt) and the button you got for your birthday.
Blowing out the candle on your birthday cupcake!

So, now that we were all fat and happy after our breakfast, it was time to head into the park.  We took the monorail over, something else you LOVED, and cleared the bag-check stations.  Holy cow, did we take a lot of stuff...  snacks, changes of clothes...  better to be prepared, though.  We finally got to step into the gates of magic and mousery, and.... we walked into a parade.  Now, I will be honest here.  I was bummed about this.  I wanted you to see the castle right away.  But then I saw your face as you watched the parade, and I cooled my jets.  I saw this smile, and I knew that I needed to toss any agendas I may have had in my noggin and let you lead.  
Melted my heart, little dude.  You finally did see the castle, and you even took a photo of it on your own camera (which again, I will cover that later.)  We wandered over to Adventureland first, then Frontierland, and then finally to Fantasyland.  You rode the Jungle Cruise, Aladdin's Flying Carpets and the Carousel.  Of course, we had to do It's a Small World, and then we ambled over to Pooh Corner and rode the Winnie the Pooh ride.  You and Daddy had just recently watched a Pooh movie on the laptop, so this was a big deal for you.  Like your movie came to life.  Dumbo was next, and then we decided that you were getting a bit on the cranky side.  Daddy and I rode the train that goes around the park three times so you could get a 45 minute nap in.  I must say, it did make a big difference in your demeanor.
 You and Daddy on the Jungle Cruise. 
 Riding the carousel with Mommy
Hooray for Dumbo!

Now, like I mentioned before, your Happy Birthday button got you all kinds of attention in the park.  Cast Members (Disney employees) all stopped and wished you happy birthday by name.  At first it was a little creepy hearing strangers call out my kid's name, but then we got into the spirit of it.  As long as you were holding my hand or safely strapped in your stroller.  Stranger Danger alert was on high, but I digress...  When we stopped to have dinner at a restaurant in Tomorrowland, all the people working behind the counter and in the kitchen stopped and came out and did a birthday cheer for you.  It was loud and AWESOME!  You grinned the entire time!  

Tomorrowland also hosted your favorite part of the park, according to you.  If you are asked what your favorite part was, you immediately respond, "the cars."  The Tomorrowland Speedway is what you are referring to, and it did seem to be your favorite.  You got to steer the car all by yourself, with Daddy pushing the gas pedal, and you "beat" Mommy.  Nevermind that the cars follow each other single-file on the track.  You beat Mommy!  
 Grinning at Mommy after your victory lap.

Our visit to Tomorrowland pretty much wrapped up our day, but we finished it off with the Main Street Electric Light Parade and a wicked cool fireworks show.  

I must say, Disney was a great way to celebrate our little Bear turning three.  I am kinda jealous.  My 34th isn't going to be nearly as much fun.  I'm so glad you had a good time, and just like all the other wonderful things I get to do with you, I have tucked these memories into my heart forever.  I'm going to wrap up this post with a few more pictures of our fun weekend.  Hopefully they will bring back great memories for you, too.
 Us, Disney World, 2012!
 Taking pictures on your special new camera. 
 Our funny family with Pooh and Tigger
I think this picture is one of my favorites from the WHOLE weekend.
You and Issa watching the Main Street Electric Light Parade.  Mommy was smart and bought her own glow stick thingies.  Thank you, Pinterest...

Happy early 3rd birthday, Buddy!
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