Well, okay, we WENT to Disney World, but that isn’t nearly as exciting for a post title. And our visit was exhilarating, magical, and all that good stuff…
and a little exhausting too. That pic is of Elijah totally conked out on a bus to dinner. (And no, that little nap did not guarantee us a calm, relaxed meal).
My family went to Disney World A LOT growing up, but this was my first visit in almost 17 years, and Joe’s in about 13, so obviously it was Elijah’s and Remy’s first visits. It was so much fun to experience their “firsts” and the overstimulating, overwhelming newness of it all. Here is our Top 8 list.
The wild “aminals”
Getting to and from the Animal Kingdom and the Lodge (which are, it should be noted, not walking distance from each other) involved some unnecessary detours and long waits, but once we got where we were supposed to, both were really cool. Our dinner at Jiko was absolutely delicious (even though enjoyed at lightening speed)-they even have a vegan menu! After dinner we walked around outside of the lodge. Elijah roasted his first marshmallow, with Joe’s help, while Remy and I pointed at the zebras and the giraffe.
At the Animal Kingdom itself, where we went the next morning, the kids fell in love with many of animals, but none more than the meerkat. We stood by the meerkat enclosure for about 15 minutes, and then my younger child threw herself into dramatics when we had to leave (this generally happened whenever we had to leave an animal). The terrible twos are going to be verrrry interesting (and very loud-man, that child can wail!)
The not-so-wild “aminals”
Luckily, Remy was assuaged by getting to love on some goats, pigs, etc at the petting area. She was very proud of herself for gently patting the animals, like we have practiced time and again with Harvey. So were we!
Although there were lots of not-so-healthy choices around, I think we managed to find some really good dining options for a veg family in and around Disney. The Wave at the Contemporary was really tasty (veggie curry!), and Wolfgang Puck Cafe was good too. We had to make a stop at the Downtown Disney outpost of Babycakes: mmmm….cupcakes and donuts!
Elijah enjoyed several popsicles and fruit bars during our stay. Yesterday when I picked him up, he said, “I need something to cool me down…like a popsicle.” I handed him his juice and told him we could also have some ice cold water when we got home. His casual, confident reply: “No, Mommy. Juice and water don’t cool me down. Popsicles do. And so does ice cream.” Keep trying every angle, Elijah Bean.
Seeing Remy’s old roomie Maya (as well as her parents)
This was so, so fun. Our Orlando friends came to visit our last evening in Disney for a little playdate. It was so great to see our girls together and how they have grown-it has been almost a year since I last saw them together and both have changed from little, timid babies to smiling, adventurous, toddlers, ready for mischief! I so wish that they (and all our adoption buds) lived much closer.
The character breakfast
A few weeks before we left, the Disney anticipation got to Elijah and he said, “I don’t want to to meet Mickey or Minnie.” We assured him that this was fine and that he didn’t have to talk to anyone. Then we actually got to Disney and he was so excited. That is him above being enveloped in a hug from Daisy.
There have been moments for me as a parent that have been unexpectedly poignant and which remind me of how present I want to be as a parent. This was one of those moments (Elijah’s first haircut was another). His sweet, pure excitement at being able to actually meet a Disney character was so touching and reminded me of what a little boy he still is. I will always hold the image of him expectantly waiting to meet the characters, his whole body beaming, in my heart.
Playing in/by the water
Water babies! Both kids had a blast at the pool and at the beach at our 2nd hotel (the Yacht Club). Every afternoon was happily spent splashing. The pool at the Contemporary was great because Elijah was tall enough to stand on tiptoe and walk around most of the time. He also tried out a mini-slide.
Remy, for her part, would live in the water, if allowed. I am pretty sure she will be the first Teel kid to swim. She had so much fun throwing sand in the water (even in her “fancy” outfit from Nini).
Spending time all together was the highlight of the trip for me. I love seeing the dynamics between the kids and the rest of my family. Everyone has their own unique, crazy, loving relationship with the others, and I love how much Elijah and Remy love being with their aunties and Nini and Pawpaw.
Although Joe had to go to a conference for part of the trip, we still got to hang out with him a lot. The Daddy novelty did not wear off, and we all loved playing with him (and forcing him to splash around in cold water for hours).
I can’t believe this is the only pic on the Monorail, considering how many times we went on it. It was definitely the Bean’s favorite part of Disney World. When my Dad told Elijah one night to have sweet dreams before Elijah went to bed, he replied, “I’m going to dream about Monorails and Nini.” And he has since declared that his name is “Black Monorail”. The rest of us are other colors including green, gold, and pink. At least it’s a change from being a garbage truck 🙂
A magical trip-we are so excited to take the kids back in a few years!