Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dreams Come True

Last week marked Leah's first trip to Walt Disney World! After talking about and planning our trip for well over a year, it was so exciting to finally have it realized. Leah met so many of her favorite characters, rode several rides, trick-or-treated in the Magic Kingdom, watched an amazing firework display, enjoyed a few nighttime swims in the resort pool, and generally had the time of her life!

The day prior to our trip, we picked up a rental car... what was supposed to be a SUV turned into a minivan, since the rental place didn't have a vehicle to give us. It worked in our favor because there was SO MUCH ROOM! The seats collapsed into the floor, which worked out perfectly since we wanted plenty of space for Dodge to move around and lay down. Yes, he came to Disney World too! Amazingly, pet care & boarding was right across the street from our resort. It's like it was meant to be. Dan & I so appreciated being able to visit him each day, as I know Dodge did too.

We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside in their new royal rooms. Beautiful, picturesque resort! The rooms were super fun with lots of cute details: characters in the wallpaper border, Aladdin's magic carpet woven right into the rug, faucets that looked like the magic lamp, a "note" from Princess Tiana on the table, etc. One of the highlights for Leah was the firework display that lit up over the beds!

Our first evening was spent in Downtown Disney for dinner and a little shopping. Both Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter have special ferryboat rides to Downtown Disney, as opposed to taking one of the Disney buses. We all loved that and it was such a relaxing way to travel back and forth.

Magic Kingdom was on the agenda for our first full day. The look on Leah's face when she first laid eyes on Cinderella's Castle was priceless! That day was magical for her. More than anything, Leah has talked about meeting and hugging different characters. So, I made that my goal: to find as many as I could! Throughout the day, Leah met Tiana, Ariel, Pluto, Marie (from Aristocats), and Merida. We had dinner reservations at the castle, where Leah met her beloved Cinderella as well as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel. By the time dinner was over, Leah was on top of the world!

Leah's jaw dropped when she first saw Cinderella, Snow White, & Sleeping Beauty during a show in front of the castle. :)

Getting ready to ride Dumbo with Popel!

The main reason we planned this trip for October was to attend Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. This occurred on our third evening at Disney. We had a blast! Leah dressed as Tinkerbell and we trick-or-treated around the Magic Kingdom. Everyone is given a treat bag as you enter the event, so by the end of the night, Leah's big bucket of candy was FULL, since we adults dumped our collections into hers. Between that, the parade, the incredible fireworks, and meeting a few more characters, it was a success. Dan's goal was to give Leah a good Halloween and that goal was certainly met. We're all ready to go back and do it again next year!

Tinkerbell & Tinkerbell :)

During our stay, we visited all of the major parks (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot). Unfortunately, our Animal Kingdom day was cut short due to the Halloween party that night, so we've already discussed spending a full day there next time we visit. The safari was awesome, we found a great character meetup spot, and it was a beautiful park to walk around. Hollywood Studios seems like it may be a better fit when Leah is older and more interested in rides or movie-related shows. She loved the Beauty & the Beast stage show there, the Pixar parade, and meeting a few more characters, though I do think we can skip those next time in favor of exploring more at Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom.  Epcot was a favorite of Dan & I, thanks to the Food & Wine Festival. We had so much fun sampling goodies from different countries. It was there, too, that Leah met her final two princesses and even caught a glimpse of Bolt, her first favorite character! 

It was a wonderful vacation, full of awesome memories and magical moments for the most special little girl in our lives. I am so glad that so many of her dreams came true.