December 11, 2013

A last hurrah

Back when we were preparing for SB's fourth birthday, we decided to plan our first trip to Disney as a family. The centerpiece of the trip would be a visit to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

As we began to look into it, we realized the cost of Florida resident Weekday Select passes were nominally more than regular, three-day passes. Living just a few hours away from Disney, it made sense to go with the former.

So one trip turned into a year of visiting Walt Disney World parks. And we have had a blast. We did have an official birthday trip. We returned a few months later to explore more of the parks. I was also able to take SB and mom my for a girls vacation a few weeks ago.

Last week was our final planned visit before our passes expire.

One of the really nice things about being so close and having annual passes is that you never feel pressure to try to Do. All. The. Things. You can take your time exploring. Discover it all in a more leisurely manner, figure out what you like best and go back for more.

I can't imagine trying to squeeze it all in to the three day trip.

We were very fortunate this year. I loved all our visits to Walt Disney World, but I think this last one was my favorite. First of all, we stayed at the most awesome place - The Animal Kingdom Lodge. One of Disney's luxury resorts; we would never normally consider booking there.

But thanks to a GREAT deal for Florida residents, it once again made no sense not to do so. Now, since we were getting in on a discount, I figured we'd be looking out at the parking lot. I could not have been more wrong.

We had an amazing view of the Sunset Savannah (one of four at the resort), and all the animals in it. Within an hour of our arrival, I was watching a family of giraffes with a baby walk by. We also got to watch a baby zebra nursing from her mama every morning.

Staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge was like spending the night at a zoo. Complete with strange animals noises at 2AM. Which we determined were being made by the African Crowned Cranes. Noisy buggers.

Hubby had decided to pack light and leave the professional camera at home. He definitely regretted that. We could have gotten some really cool animal shots. But we did our best to capture the experience. And of course we have plenty of great memories...

We could have easily spent our entire vacation at the lodge and had a blast. But we did leave. In fact, we spent very little time actually there. After three days at the parks we decided to spend our final one enjoying what the resort had to offer. Like this:

That's right. While most of the country was in a deep freeze dealing with nasty winter storms, we went swimming. It's good to live in Florida. If only I hadn't been there with my four year old and a cabana boy had brought me drinks. Now THAT would be a vacation!

Coming up, our adventures at Epcot, where SB got to meet Anna and Elsa from the awesome new Disney movie Frozen!

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