Our kids get along well for the most part, but I have observed that theme parks (or even vacations in general) are the great leveler. They all have such a great time together.
Arriving in the park Friday morning
Chris and Kieran on the Dumbo ride (which we always go on first because of the massive lines later in the day)
Because of our clever touring plans (especially heading for Fantasyland first thing on Friday), we were able to go on tons of rides by 10:30 a.m. The best way to experience a theme park! We even had spare time to wait in a (short) line to see Wendy and Peter Pan:
And glimpse the mean stepsisters--wouldn't that be a fun role to play?
Getting ready to watch the 3-D Mickey's Philharmagic:
Last time we were at the Magic Kingdom in 2008, I coaxed Kieran into going on the Pirate of the Caribbean with us. The Disney cast member loading the ride assured him that it was not scary. He was terrified! Ever since then, I've sworn I would never pressure a child into riding a ride. However, our Nick was delighted by pirates. He is a brave soul!
Having fun in the gift shop--my cute pirates!
True to form, Kieran ended up on stage in the Jack Sparrow Pirate Tutorial show! (In 2008, it was Chris who was chosen as one of the select few.)
He was instructed to sword fight to the right and left, and then jab in the belly. Then he was to point and shout "Look, it's the governor's daughter!" and flee in the other direction (in true Jack Sparrow fashion).
Kieran took to his part like a true pirate:
And then shouted: "Look, it's the president's daughter!" which elicited a big laugh out of Jack.
Between the two days in the Magic Kingdom, we went on Splash Mountain (my personal favorite) and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad four times each (all with Fastpasses, of course). Nick LOVED Big Thunder, and enjoyed Splash Mountain too, until he sat in the front one time and got just a bit too wet. I've never seen such a thrill-seeking 3-year-old!
Nick and Kieran in the Laughing Place gift shop:
I have to take a moment to compliment our teenager Chris. He delighted in the small things and constantly interacted with his younger brothers, telling them about upcoming rides or asking them what they had liked best. Some teens would have complained bitterly about the kiddie rides and "It's a Small World." Not our Chris though.
With Emperor Zurg after the Buzz Lightyear Spin (and did we ever spin, with Nick in charge of the spinning!!):
A show in front of the castle--with a few fireworks:
Another day of Splash Mountain--this was the time Nick wanted to ride in the front with us, but ended up ducking down low!
Part of me feels guilty that our kids have been to Disney parks so often. If Mike didn't have relatives in Orlando, we would most likely have never gone (or perhaps only once). During this trip, the theme park tickets were our biggest expense. We used frequent flyer miles for tickets, and our condo was insanely reasonable (about $645 for 8 nights). However, I would rather have done Europe, Mexico, or even Hawaii...but the kids enjoyed themselves and it was great to catch up with Mike's relatives.
Since we returned, Nick has been performing pirate shows constantly, featuring himself as Jack Sparrow. He's memorized the words of his favorite book, Captain Flynn and the Pirate Dinosaurs, but substitutes his friend Asher's name for Flynn and Jack Sparrow for the pirate captain.
Kieran and I have started reading Tom Sawyer, which I will leave to another blog post all its own.