#mcdanfamloveswdw: day 3


Click HERE to see the photos we shared on Instagram from our trip. 

Click Here if you missed Day 1.

Click Here if you missed Day 2.

Day 3: Friday, May 8th.

It was cheaper to buy a 7 day Magic Your Way ticket than a 5 day hopper so I decided to try it. Last time we stayed 8 nights and had a 4 day hopper – it was nice to have so much rest time and the boys definitely needed it at ages 2 and 3. My downfall is always that I want to see and do it all. I remember feeling like we were so scheduled and hurried to get everything in that it was hard to feel relaxed. My thought process with the 7 day (non-hopper) pass was that we would feel better about leaving earlier in the evening if the boys were wearing down. We’d be able to spend more days at Magic Kingdom and even check out our favorites more than once.  Explore the parks at a more leisurely pace. Take our time to smell the roses (or stare at fountains or wait in line to meet characters, etc). I had a bucket list in my mind of things we had never done and/or things I didn’t want to leave without doing at least once. The first thing we did Friday morning was climb aboard the train at the Main Street Train Station and ride it around the loop. If I’ve ever done this before, I don’t remember it. We all enjoyed it – a relaxing way to start a very fun day. 001 003 006 007 008 010

I used my prime lens Friday. I didn’t want to carry a big camera bag around to I made the decision to commit to a lens for the whole day. The prime lens gets great shots with amazing bokeh in certain circumstances but it just isn’t as versatile, especially when shots are taken in close proximity. Letting cast members or other people take pictures with the prime lens sounded like a disaster to me so I didn’t even try. People love zooming in and out and the prime lens doesn’t. I enjoyed getting pictures of some smaller details. I wish I had time to just stroll through WDW with my only objective for the day to take a million photos. I could have a lot of fun! 011 013

Two fun and important things I wanted to make time to do (which are often overlooked) were Swiss Family Treehouse and Tom Sawyer Island. Both are areas where kids (and adults) can run around, climb, explore, and imagine. These two attractions were highlights of our day and we spent quite a bit of time on Tom Sawyer Island. I can’t believe I’d never checked it out before. There was barely anyone else around. It felt like we had the place to ourselves and that we had been transported to another place and time.

Swiss Family Treehouse:016 017 018

Ryan wearing his Genie shirt on Magic Carpets of Aladdin Ride…how cute.022

Dole Whip, baby!023

Splash Mountain:025

So thirsty. I’d love to know how many gallons of ice water we chugged on that vacation.029

Playing pirates outside of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.030 031

Tom Sawyer Island:033 035 036 037 038 040 042 043 044

After 3 days of Dexter begging to swim and it being obvious that these boys were exhausted from 3 days of nonstop action, we called it a day at 6pm. We jumped on the next bus back to our resort. We knew we had an early morning Saturday for our first of two character breakfasts so we ate dinner, swam a bit, turned in early, and slept like rocks. 046Dex was one happy boy. He’d live in a pool if he could!

Up next – Animal Kingdom & breakfast with Donald and the gang at Tusker House.



Catch the Moment|wk.21

Shew, I’ve been busy this week – putting up a record 3 blog posts since my last Catch the Moment. In case you missed it, I wrote about Day 1 and Day 2 of our Walt Disney World vacation as well as the boys’ last day of pre-school.

Linking up with Mindi, Stephanie, and Carrie for week 21 of Catch the Moment.

141/365: Thursday, May 21st. Because when you work from 9am-10pm, this is all that’s left to photograph. I hadn’t planned to work so late but Ryan was already on his way to pick up the boys when I got a call from their school. Both had fevers and were falling asleep on the playground. Neat! I knew I’d need to take off Friday so I worked until I hit 40 hours. 05-21-2015

142/365: Friday, May 22nd. Both boys woke up without fevers but Theo woke up crying that his ears hurt in the middle of the night. I made an afternoon appointment to get him checked out before the long weekend…verdict: double ear infection! Weird since he’d never had one in all of his 5+ years. Off to Target for antibiotics and we stopped by school so he could tell his teachers and friends goodbye on the last day. So sad that he wasn’t able to attend. By the time we got home, they were tired and not in the mood to take last-day-of-school photos.05-22-2015

143/365: My sweet and wonderful friend Erin is days away from welcoming baby number 2! I wasn’t able to attend her surprise baby shower the week before so we had our own little celebration at a yummy Italian restaurant close by. So fun to have the evening (and conversation) to ourselves without little voices interrupting every train of thought. Ha!05-23-2015

144/365: The new water park opened in our town for Memorial Day weekend so of course we were in line to check it out on Sunday at noon with some of our friends. Excited to have this nice amenity so close to home. The water was FREEZING, but we expected that so early in the season. The boys loved the kid splash area and the lazy river.05-24-2015

145/365: Monday, May 25th. Memorial Day. We stayed home on the holiday and worked on some house projects. Ryan worked on the grout for our tile backsplash while I stained some neglected replacement windows and primed a red wall that I never liked in preparation for painting it the same color as the rest of the room. 05-25-2015

146/365: Tuesday, May 26th. Our sweet neighbors John and Katy sure know how to make my day with their son’s leftover party treats! Thank you!!05-26-2015

147/365: Wednesday, May 27th: Ryan and I took advantage of the boys spending the night with Nana and Pop Pop and went to a movie. We saw Tomorrowland so I had to represent with the Mickey shirt I wore at Disney on my birthday (because when else am I going to wear it again?). For me, the movie was entertaining but not something I need to see again. Too futuristic. I’m not mad though- I mean…it’s called Tomorrowland. It paid tribute to Walt in a pretty cool way at the beginning which is what I really wanted to see. Disney geeks unite!05-27-2015Now that we are a few days removed from sickness and 13 hour work days, I can say we’ve had a great week! Let’s keep the trend going…




#mcdanfamloveswdw: Day 2

Click HERE to see the photos we shared on Instagram from our trip. 

Click Here if you missed Day 1.

Day 2: Thursday, May 7th. My 35th birthday!

I chose May 2015 for this trip for several reasons. February would have been nice but I was afraid of flight delays since Indiana winters historically reach a level of extreme misery during February. Ice, blizzards, and sub-zero temps are nice to get away from, but what if you can’t? Ideally we would have waited until September because crowds and rates are lower. Summer is not on my WDW radar because of the heat, crowds, and rates. With Theo starting Kindergarten this fall, I decided to follow my conscience and avoid going in September. I’m not personally against taking your kids out of school for vacation, but part of me feels guilty for thinking about it. Especially right after school starts. February, too unpredictable. September, school’s in. Those two times also have the lowest resort room rates. Next best option happened to be May. School’s still in session so the crowd levels are okay. Bonus – Dexter’s birthday, my birthday, and Mother’s Day all fell within a week. Sounds like a heck of a celebration to me. Why not? All in all, it ended up working out well for lots of reasons.

I had never been to EPCOT during the Flower & Garden Festival so I was excited to see all of the character topiaries and flowers in bloom.

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Both boys were big enough to ride Soarin’ and we all loved it! Unfortunately we only got to ride once because the wait times were long by the time we were able to get back to it. Soarin’ is my favorite attraction at EPCOT and I was excited to learn that additional capacity is being added. We used a FastPass+ on Test Track and we couldn’t get one for each attraction. Test Track was a big hit, too. I rode with Dexter and he said “mommy, pretend this is the batmobile and we’re going back to the Batcave, okay!?” See, he’s not ALL Disney.005

I had to take this picture because I knew it would perfectly represent Dexter in every single line. Theo was kind of following his lead here, but we could barely keep Dexter off of the railings, ropes, or chains in queues. He is such a busy body and has so much energy. When he’s not tired, he has to be moving. And guess what? When he’s tired, he has to move even more. “Dexter! Get down!” We must have said that 100 times a day.007 008

So pretty! I need the landscaper that designed this to come to my house.012

Kidcot stop in Mexico as we entered the World Showcase. They still have these puppets or fans or whatever you want to call them. 013

Tradition! We got a picture with Donald in Mexico last time so we had to recreate the memory. 017 018 021

First souvenir purchase! Dexter picked out this elephant in China and so cleverly named him …. Ellie. Yep. He carried him around and slept with him every night. It was cute, cute, cute.025 027 032 034

Hurrah for short lines to meet cool characters!035 036 038

Between France and the UK lies a walkway to the Boardwalk and Yacht & Beach Club Resorts. One thing I knew I wanted to do for my birthday was to visit Beaches & Cream, a full service restaurant and soda and ice cream shop within the Beach Club Resort. We opted to eat outside and daydream about staying there one day while eating our Mickey mini kitchen sink sundae. It was DELICIOUS and gone in about 5 minutes. Perfect break in the middle of a fun but long day on our feet. 039 040

Back to EPCOT for a little browsing.041 042

They had a Monsters University themed playground set up for the Flower and Garden Festival. Out of all the fun attractions, sights, sounds, and tastes – some of the boys favorite things at the parks were the play areas where they could run, climb, and act like little boys.045 049

Before our trip, I shared on The Affordable Mouse my concerns about Theo poo-pooing on our fun by constantly worrying and thinking about what souvenir he was going to get and when. Well…we had to have a little talk at EPCOT on day 2 of the trip after I’d heard him ask the same question one too many times. We had talked about it before our trip but he just couldn’t help himself. What did he want? A little $6 mystery pack of tiny characters…which happened to be the same pack he got a year and a half earlier. I thought he’d blow up but he had a great attitude and said you can’t have too many Ursulas, Oogey Boogeys, or Scars. I wish we’d bought the darn pack first thing. The rest of the trip, he was really good about it.

Dexter and water…oh the boy loves water. At Disney World, there is water everywhere! We made a lot of pit stops to look at various fountains, waterfalls, creeks, lagoons, lakes, and canals. I had to remind myself over and over that this is his vacation and this is what he loves. 050

Tradition of trying all the sodas from around the world at Club Cool.051

Dexter’s second souvenir closely followed his first. He had to have a stuffed Bruce (from Finding Nemo). He loves water and he definitely has a thing for sharks! Earlier in the day when we visited The Seas, we hunted and searched all of the aquariums for sharks with no luck. I finally asked a cast member who pointed us in the right way. He was mesmerized! I’m not sure when this love of sharks happened, but it was cute. So later in the day when he asked for Bruce, we talked to him about it  – told him he couldn’t get souvenirs every day – he understood. He still wanted Bruce. He got Bruce.054 056 058 060 062

After a long day, the buddies were tuckered out. I tucked them in and ended my birthday with a big smile on my face. 063When you check in, a cast member will ask if you are celebrating anything. If you are, they will give you a pin. I got to wear a pin on my birthday and had a lot of fun hearing “Happy Birthday Candice!” all day. I’d recommend celebrating your birthday by embracing your inner child to anyone.