Walt Disney World!

 

A few months ago our family was presented with a trip to Walt Disney World as a thank you for Jon’s service and sacrifices for our country.

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We just got back from our trip and wanted to share our family photos with everyone who made this possible. The smiles on the kids faces will be forever in our memory. We can’t thank you all enough for the special moments that we shared. We know that a lot of people were involved in making this happen but we want to send a special thank you to the following:

Michael Mann, Thank you for thinking of our family. Not only have you helped our family with our mortgages needs and have given us a trip of a lifetime…you also keep us in mind throughout the year with letters and postcards. Your friendship is indeed the greatest gift of all.

Louise Thaxton, Steven Jacobson, Holly Wanamaker-Roth, Nicole Wilkes, Sean Parnell, America Warrior Initiative, Fairway, and The Michael Mann Team….we know you all had a big part in our trip and we are forever grateful. Thank you for helping us plan and prepare for our trip. Thank you for having a heart for not only our family but all veterans. May God bless you ten fold for all that you do for others!

The Vanpelt family, Thanks to your generous Christmas gift our family enjoyed a magical dinner at Cinderella’s castle!

Grammy and Poppop Essig, The kids picked out special souvenirs with their Disney gift cards! Thank you!

 

Day one…

We checked into our Disney hotel and headed to our dinner reservations at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ. As soon as we arrived we got lucky with a Mickey and Minnie family photo.   Madison could not take her eyes off Minnie as we sat down to eat. Mason tried BBQ and mashed potatoes for the first time. After enjoying some food daddy and Madison got to dance with the characters! The whole family enjoyed some Mickey Mouse ice cream to complete our evening.

 

Day 2…

We spent day 2 at Hollywood Studios. The morning started out by meeting Sofia the first and Minnie Mouse. Madison was so excited to show Sofia her new light up shoes. Then we enjoyed a character lunch at Hollywood & Vine. Mason’s highlights were Disney Junior- Live on Stage! and Beauty and the Beast- Live on Stage. He smiled through both shows! Then we checked out the new Club Disney, where you can dance with different characters. Madison had a blast dancing with Mickey and Pluto (and also just dancing by herself…that girl has some crazy moves). Right before we left Hollywood Studios we walked around their light spectacular and were completely in awe of its beauty. We said HAPPY NEW YEAR! in the comfort of our hotel room because the kids (and quite frankly us as well) were too tuckered out to endure the New Year’s Eve crowds.

Encounter with Sofia and Minnie…

Hollywood & Vine lunch…

More photos throughout the day…

 

Day 3…

We spent part of day 3 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Our first stop Kilimanjaro Safarus. Ok actually our first stop was Starbucks. Madison was excited to get milk with Mickey Mouse on the carton. Although she had trouble drinking out of it so her milk ended up in a Starbucks cup (photo below). Just wanted to explain so people don’t think we were giving our 2 yr old coffee! Then on to the safari. We spotted tons of wildlife and even got to watch two baby gorillas playing! Then we met up with Mickey and Minnie, along with some other characters. Festival of the Lion King was a highlight of our day. What an awesome show, great for all ages! Dinner reservations were at Tusker House and we got some great photos with Mickey and friends. After dinner we park hopped to Epcot. What a sight at night! We met Aurora (sleeping beauty) and Madison didn’t want to let her go. They hugged for about 5 minutes! Then Mason worked his charm and got a special kiss. We then happened to run into Tigger and Winnie the Pooh while walking through the World Showcases. The rest of the night was spent just enjoying the lights. Perfect night for a stroll through Epcot! Madison tucked in at night with her new princesses.

 

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Day 4…

Back to Epcot on day 4! More photos with characters. The kids enjoyed The Seas with Nemo and Friends along with Turtle Talk with Crush. We walked through the World Showcases again (could probably do it a hundred times and still see something new). Our family stopped for lunch in Japan (Katsura Grill). Then because the weather forecast was calling for rain the next day we decided to park hop to Magic Kingdom just incase. Boy was it crowded! We managed to get some photos by the castle and watched one of the street parades. Mason tried a cinnamon roll for the first time at Gaston’s Tavern. He couldn’t get enough, guess someone is ready for big people food! We hopped back to Epcot for our dinner reservations at Askershus Royal Banguet Hall. Yummy! By far our favorite restaurant at Disney. The kids enjoyed visits from a few princesses while we ate. They don’t stop long but were very sweet. After dinner we were in search of Princess Jasmine and found her and Aladdin in Morocco. More strolling through Epcot at night and then back to our hotel to get ready for our last day at Disney.

 

Park hop over to Magic Kingdom…

Back to Epcot for our dinner reservations at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall…

Day 5:

Our last day was Magic Kingdom! The weather was on and off raining which turned out to be a blessing! The park was empty compared to the day before. We started out our morning at Be Our Guest restaurant (The Beast‘s enchanted castle). The food was really good but they seemed to rush you out.   After breakfast we enjoyed several rides/attractions with NO lines (thank you rain). Enchanted Tales with Belle was a favorite of ours. They get the kids to join in, it was very entertaining watching little ones act out Beauty and the Beast. More character photos and meet and greets. Mason got a kiss from Tinkerbelle! Then we took a ride on the Walt Disney Railroad and rode it throughout the park 3 times! Madison took the opportunity to take a nap while Mason entertained other passengers the whole time. We closed out the day with dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table. Madison was thrilled to be eating at Cinderella’s castle! While the food portions are small (and I mean small) the beauty in the building is extraordinary. Prince Mason received a sword (yes they gave a 8 month old a sword) and Princess Madison a royal wand. The kids met more princesses. Madison was in her glory, a great way to end our vacation!

 

Magic Kingdom photos…

Dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table…

 

Again THANK YOU to everyone who made our Disney vacation possible, we couldn’t ask for a better gift then the gift of memories together!

 

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