Halloween Horror Nights or Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party?

Leave a comment Standard
Halloween Horror Nights or Mickey's Not-So-Scary

When the leaves begin to change and the air has a bit of a chill, I know it’s time to start thinking about heading to Orlando to celebrate Halloween.  For our family, it’s almost always been Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.  I love the family friendly entertainment, and I hate being scared – and not just because I have bladder issues.

Before you decide which is the better option for your family, take a look at the comparison:

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

  • Great for all ages:  Disney does “not so scary” better than anyone.  The decorations are happy and fall-ish, and the shows, parades, and characters all echo the not so scary theme.  You’ll find all of your favorite attractions open, and the added bonus of trick or treat stations – candy for everyone!
  • Everyone can wear a costume – just be aware that the costumes can’t be offensive, violent, or obstructive.  Keep the full face masks at home, too.
  • Trick or Treating is welcome and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party even provides bags for the kids and the adults.
  • Cost for adults is $67 – $71, depending on the date you choose.  The price is for the party only – and you will need a separate ticket if you are going to spend the day at the Magic Kingdom.  The Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party begins at 7 and goes until midnight, however, you can enter the Magic Kingdom beginning around 4 PM with your party ticket.
  • Definitely book your ticket in advance.  Dates closer to Halloween can sell out, as can nights that offer special discounts for DVC members or members of the military. (as of this writing – October 1st – Halloween is already sold out)
  • https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/magic-kingdom/mickeys-not-so-scary-halloween-party/

Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights

  • Definitely not recommended for young guests.  This is a pretty intense experience, with interactive components designed to make you pee your pants. They call it Halloween Horror Nights for good reasons.
  • Guest absolutely cannot wear costumes.  I think they take great pleasure in knowing they’ve caused you to pee your pants, and they don’t want you to hide that behind a costume.  Or it’s for everyone’s safety.  Or something.
  • No trick or treating.  Boo.
  • Cost – well, here’s where it gets complicated.  Halloween Horror Nights has a variety of ticket options.  The cheapest, which will set you back about $42, is an add on ticket.  You pay for a day at Universal Studios, and you can add the evening at Halloween Horror Nights on for $42 more.  If you have a condition that causes you to spend your day sleeping in a coffin, coming out only after sunset, the ticket for the party by itself is $96.  Then there are multi-day options available that can include as many as 22 nights at the party, PLUS an Express Pass.  That last option is in the $250 ballpark.
  • The party begins at 6:30, and the ending time depends on the night you go – either midnight, 1 AM or 2 AM.  You’ll find the longer parties closer to Halloween.
  • http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando/

The choice is yours – cute characters (Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party) or creepy creatures – *Halloween Horror Nights).  Candy or killing (not the real kind).  Either way, these are two great Halloween options in Orlando.

D is For Disney – Duh!

Comments 2 Standard

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775c

DAs if there was a way to get to the letter D in the A to Z Blog Challenge and not have me mention Disney.  In honor of the letter D, I present with fond memories and intense longing my favorite Disney “D List”.

Dole Whip – Well, yeah. Virtually impossible to find anywhere outside of Disney, this creamy, soft servey, pineappley deliciousness makes me smile and drool – not a pretty sight, if it’s a big, open mouthed smile, because then the drool spills all over the computer keyboard. Not that I speak from experience.

Samsung

Donald Duck – Love to see his big, beaky (or is it a bill because he’s a Duck?) smile as we enter one of the best buffet meals not only at Walt Disney World, but anywhere – Tusker House.  So unexpected for a theme park meal, and so many unusual, off the beaten path things to try!

ddd031838SMALL

Disney Dollars – Unlike Itchy and Scratchy Dollars, which they don’t take anywhere, including Itchy and Scratchy Land, Disney Dollars can be used for just about everything during your Disney vacation.  And thanks to my friend Kay, another Mom on the Disney Parks Moms Panel, I’ve learned a fun game with the Disney Dollars that gives the kids a bit of their own spending money with each meal.  Buy your Disney Dollars ahead of time, and put them in plain white envelopes.  Everyone at the table chooses an envelope, which could contain $1 to $5, and the person with the biggest amount of money in their envelope throws the trash away!  The kids get a kick out of it, and they love to save their dollars until the last meal to get the best souvenir their winnings can buy!

Double Flying Dumbos – Oh yes, I love them. But not for the reason you probably think.  I cannot ride the Flying Dumbos because going around in a circle like that makes me so nauseous and dizzy, I’d have to browse the rest of the park with my head in a bucket.  But this is that quintessential first ride – the one even the youngest kids can go on without fear or worry.  I’ve gotten some of my most favorite pictures of my tiny beauty girls as they spin around on their own flying elephant.  Priceless.

9108810

What are some of your favorite Disney “D”s?

 

Live near Disney, Lose the Magic?

Leave a comment Standard

The short answer is – no.

I’ve had a couple of people ask me recently if we went to Walt Disney World as often when we lived in Orlando as we do now that we live 1000 miles away, and really, it was as much my favorite place then as it is now!

Almost as soon as we moved to Orlando, we invested in Annual Passes for all of the theme parks – SeaWorld, Universal, and WDW, figuring since we were in a town where we knew no one, this would be our entertainment budget for the year.  No huge Christmas party to plan and pay for; no monthly birthday parties to go to; no Sunday dinners at Grandmoms.  We knew that with our recent move to Orlando, the budget would be tight, and there was a chance we’d even have to miss weddings and other big family events we never would have thought of missing if we were still living in New Jersey.  I found many afternoons and evenings of solace, wrapped in the comfort and familiarity of Walt Disney World, and whenever I was missing home and family, we went to the theme parks.

The best thing about living that close to the Magic was that you got to see and do all the new stuff right away!  I can remember hearing about a new attraction, and planning our next vacation to head down to Orlando so we could check it out.  It instantly became like planning a day in the park for us – literally – whenever announcement was made of something new and wonderful at Walt Disney World!

Another huge perk?  Restaurants!  I don’t think I cooked for the first six months that we lived in Orlando – then suddenly, my husband reminded me we weren’t on vacation, and at some point, I’d have to actually use the stove at our house.  But in lieu of Sunday dinner at Grandmom’s, we did Sunday dinner at “Mom’s” at the 50’s Prime Time Cafe at Hollywood Studios.  Date nights were never spent heading to Applebee’s or the diner, where we often end up now.  Date night usually included a trip to EPCOT for a beautiful evening stroll around the World Showcase, with dinner at a different location each time.

Not only is the magic still there, but you feel like you become more a part of it when you live that close.  It’s the one thing I miss about not being in Orlando.  Don’t get me wrong – it’s great being home again, near family and friends, with the big Christmas party and the family barbecues.  But I cherish my (gulp) monthly trips to the Mouse, and I know when I get there, it’s

Our Florida Holiday Tradition – Drive In Light Displays

Leave a comment Standard

When we lived in South Florida, we would travel each year to Tradewinds Park for the Holiday Fantasy of Lights display.  For three miles, you rest comfortably in your car while driving through the park and the many incredible holiday light displays.  Taking place nightly from 11/19 through 1/2/2011, this is a must see spectacle of holiday brilliance, and for only $13 per car ($10 Monday – Wednesday), you can save the time and the effort driving through endless neighborhoods trying to find the best decorated houses.  Well worth the price of admission.

This year, Osceola Heritage Park is hosting their own version of a holiday light spectacular with the Wonderland of Lights.  Running from 11/26 – 1/9/2011, this display is just about a 20 minute drive from Walt Disney World.  This is the first year for this display, and it’s only a mile long, but the park is also going to offer ice skating, Santa’s Village, photos with Santa, and holiday movies.  The cost at Osceola is $20 per car, but it sounds like it’s shaping up to become a wonderful Central Florida tradition!

For more information on Osceola Heritage Park Wonderland of Lights, visit their site at

http://www.ohpark.com/EVENTS/TICKETS/Entertainment/364-Wonderland-of-Lights.html

The information on Tradewinds Park can be found by visiting their website at

http://www.holidaylightsdrivethru.com/

Wine and Dine Weekend – Episode 1

Comment 1 Standard

As with all good Skamarakas Family Trip Reports, this one starts with chaos and mayhem.  After deciding to make this weekend trip, I decided to go back to school.  That means that in addition to the kids each missing two days of school, I’m missing two days of school.  I scrambled to get the kids’ stuff ready to go, coordinate my nurses schedules, make sure my doctor was okay with the trip, got my assignments emailed to me, and picked up the homemade soup and pierogies Pop-Pop was sending to Brighid.

WHEW!  I can finally begin packing to get everyone there, clothed.

Except there’s a bad storm coming up the east coast.  And despite multiple conversations previously about whether it was better to fly or drive, now that flights have gone up by $50 per person, it appears we should have made the decision to fly.  So now that the trip will be even more than we budgeted for, we’re flying!

Okay, so how much do they charge per piece of luggage?

Now I have to pare down everything I planned on bringing.  When I have successfully put everything in two suitcases that I absolutely NEED to bring, it is nearly 11 o’clock at night, and we have to be up at 5 to head to the airport.  Did I even make dinner?  No worries – they’ll probably be eating the soup Pop-Pop made on the plane as it defrosts all over us.

The rain on the way to the airport is torrential, and I am so glad I don’t have to drive 1100 miles in this kind of weather.  I’m nervous enough about the drive to Philly!  We are soon on the shuttle headed to the terminal for our first restful break of the morning – time to grab breakfast, something to drink, go to the potty.

Uh, no.  Check in is nothing if not chaotic.  We somehow got put on two different reservations; I’m not sitting with the kids, who somehow got put in emergency rows, where they aren’t even allowed to be, and Jim, who is of course Jim, is assigned an upgrade to first class.  It’s just me and Bob Uecker in the last row of the plane.  Seriously.  The last row before the potty.

By the time we’re all straightened out, the girls and I are all sitting together; we still have the LAST row on the plane; and Jim is still in first class.  But now we have to race to the gate because they are going to be boarding in a few minutes.

Good thing we’re right next to the bathroom.  It’s so hard to make a potty stop when you’re speeding through the airport trying to make sure the flight to FL doesn’t leave without you!

Sunday

Leave a comment Standard

We still have to be up early, as we have to be at the airport at 8 AM. We are in the car and out the door in plenty of time, and we stop to grab a coffee on the way. Yay.

We arrived at our gate and I think Holy cow, this is great! We are here super early! I’m so proud of myself for getting everyone out the door on time, and then I find out that the gate has been switched. We have to go to a whole ‘nother terminal. Off we trudge, me and the girls, because Jim went to return the rental car and hasn’t gotten back yet. We find the new gate, and Granuaile is thirsty, so I set off to find orange juice, since they are eating Tastykakes for breakfast. I find juice in the magazine shop, and head back, then head off to the bathroom. As I am walking that way, Jim turns up, and after I get back from the bathroom, he and I go grab a couple of bottles of water and some magazines. It’s only a few minutes until we board, and we are really the second ones on the plane, behind one handicapped woman. Jim and Eilis are supposed to sit together but she would rather sit with Brighid, so Jim switches. Granuaile has a mini-meltdown, as only she can do, but just a few minutes into the flight, she is soundly sleeping. That makes the trip so pleasant!

Our arrival in Orlando is about 20 minutes early, and as soon as we are off of the plane, Jim heads out to get the rental car and the girls and I grab the bags. We meet him out front, and our first stop is to try and find Eilis a bathing suit at the oh so many bathing suit shops we will find in Orlando. I have it on good authority that WalMart is the place to go, so we head to the one just down the street from Downtown Disney, because I have it on second good authority that if there isn’t a suit at WalMart, there will be one at one or more of the shops at Downtown Disney.

Once inside WalMart, I quickly find the bathing suit section. They have a handful of suits in Granuaile’s size, a larger selection of adult suits, and only one Eilis’ size. We end up trying on a few junior sizes on her, but none fit properly. No worries. We are headed to Downtown Disney, and there is really little else that would make me as happy as a stop there will.

We find a parking spot fairly quickly, considering this is the middle of the day and Downtown Disney. The first stop we make is at the I DO NOT REMEMBER THE NAME OF THIS SHOP. There is a large selection of adult swim suits that are pretty pricey, so I send Brighid over to the Wonderful World of Disney to see if they have any suits before I invest an enormous sum of money into a bathing suit that may not fit Eilis by summer. No go. She does a thorough search and checks with a salesperson and they have no suits. We end up with a nice suit, although we spend nearly $100 on it – yes, that is not a typo.

I do not get nearly my fill of Disney on this way too brief trip, and I’m tired and hungry besides. We leave DTD and call Jim’s mom to let her know we are going to grab lunch before we head to her house. We head to the Taco Bell at the Crossroads, and enjoy an outside table while we eat lunch. After lunch, we decide to take a ride out to University of Central Florida, so Brighid can see the school campus. It’s about an hour and 10 minutes by the time we get there, and we drive around the campus before heading back out and going to Jim’s mom’s in Poinciana. WHEW! We’ve done so much driving today, it feels like we DID do a full day’s drive from Jersey!

We settle in, order pizzas, and get all the paperwork in order for the trip. Jim and Russell pack up the car with everything that can be packed and the kids get their showers. I turn in, and Jim soon follows. It’s another very early morning – we have to be up at 5 AM!

Jolly Holidays Wednesday – And a HUGE Thank You!!!

Comment 1 Standard

First, before this blog goes anywhere, I went to post a HUGE THANK YOU to my father-in-law’s friend Richard.  We can’t tell him how grateful we are to him for gaining our admission to EPCOT.  We all had a great time, got a big dose of the Christmas spirit, and truly appreciate you going out of your way for us.  Thank you so much!

So, I am determined to get this gang up and out the door at oh dark something this morning, to make sure we are at the park in time.  We are meeting Jim’s parents and their friend Richard at 9 AM, and I want to make sure we are there with time to spare.  YAY – we get there at 8:35!!  We get a great parking spot, and I find Richard right away.  He is such a pleasure to talk to, and we all had a nice conversation when I wasn’t chasing my youngest daughter.

Dot and Russ got there a few minutes before 9, and we spent another couple of minutes talking before we headed into EPCOT for the day.  Our first stop – The Land, where we ride the boat ride.  This is one of my favorite things at EPCOT, although I am disappointed to see that they no longer have a guide on the boat – it’s all recorded.  I guess this is just another way to save Disney money, but it does take a little away from the ride.  It’s still fascinating to me, though, to see the garden part of the tour.  Not being able to grow anything in the traditional fashion makes me all the more interested in how they grow things the way they do!

We leave the boat ride, and Jim, Russ and Eilis head to Soarin’.  The wait is 20 minutes, which for this ride is really good, so they stay while I go up to the top of the building to wait with Dot.  During the wait, a lady comments to me about how very good and patient Granuaile is.  Well isn’t that a beaming mommy moment!!  I want to tell her that this is unusual for her, and it might be that she was drugged with a Triaminic strip for a cough this morning and we kept her awake until the wee hours of the morning, so she is probably sleeping with her eyes open, but I thank the very nice lady and appreciate for a few minutes that the terrible twos aren’t always so terrible.

We are closing in on lunch time, so we decide to head over to the World Showcase and the Amercian Adventure area, where we see the giant and smelling oh so good Gingerbread house.  They will be selling the delicious gingerbread here later on, but right now, it’s closed.  And so is the restaurant.  They don’t start serving until 11:30 and it’s only 11:05.  We just hang out, meet a nice lady in line with us who went to Boston College and discouraged us from letting Brighid consider Northeastern.  Finally, we purchase our enjoyable lunch, and just as we are finishing, Granuaile hears the fife and drum corps and runs to hear it.  She loves them!  She’s so musical.

The afternoon goes well, bouncing from ride to show to shop, and we soon find it time to eat again.  Dinner is at Le Cellier, and it’s an early meal so that we can go to the 6:45 Candlelight Processional.  I’ll review the restaurant later, but we eat, and we are on our way.  It’s pretty much time to go wait in line for the Candlelight Processional, which tonight is being narrated by Chita Rivera.  Jim loved her from Kiss of the Spider Woman.  I think that’s the show that turned him on to the theatre, because up until then, he had shown very little interest.  Anyway…

Midway through the show, Eilis has to go to the bathroom.  I figure I will wait until the Hallelujah chorus is being sung so I can slip out without really disturbing anyone.  Granuaile, however, decides to whisper in that OH SO LOUD baby whisper that Eilis has to go Baf-room!!  Now!  Mommy!  Eilis has to go baf-room!  UGH.  We do manage to make it to the Hallelujah Chorus, and we run to the bathroom.

We had a few pictures taken during this trip, and the one photographer helped me with my camera by teaching me how great night mode is.  He was great.

I hate to see the day come to an end, but the kids are tired, and it’s getting late, and we really have done a lot today.  The Candlelight Processional is my favorite Christmas moment, and I leave EPCOT feeling really good.  Back at the hotel, the girls get a snack and climb into bed, and it’s just been a terrific day.

Jolly Holidays Tuesday

Leave a comment Standard

Tonight is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, so we’re going to try to take the morning easy.  We get up when we’re ready – which for me means by 6:30, and the rest of the crew by about 8:30.  I offer the kids breakfast now, pool later or reverse, and of course, they are kids.  They want to go to the pool NOW.  The AKL pool is so nice.  It’s a zero entry pool, which means you don’t climb down steps, you go in like you do at the beach, and the water gradually gets deeper.  It’s also HEATED – YAY!!!  The air temperature is still a bit cool – low 70’s – but the water feels pretty good and the kids go right in.  The water slide is closed, since there are no life guards on duty yet, but I don’t think the kids would use the slide anyway.  We hang out at the pool about an hour and a half, and the girls have worked up an appetite for some breakfast.  We head on up to the room, and I throw breakfast together while Jim puts the kids in the shower, then while they eat, I hop in the shower.  We are going to head to Downtown Disney to get Granuaile’s silhouette done.  I have one of each of the other girls at age 2, so it’s her turn.

 We arrive to find out that the silhouette booth won’t be open for another 20 minutes, so we go into the World of Disney to do a little shopping.  The check out line is pretty long, so Jim ends up taking Granuaile over to the silhouette stand and Eilis and I check out with our purchases.  Because we spent $50, we also picked up an adorable snowman throw blanket for only $10 more!  A great addition to the holiday decorations at our house!

With Granuaile’s silhouette in hand, we take a ride back to the hotel for Jim to take a call for work and for us to eat lunch and change for the party.  We are out the door by about 4:30 to head to Magic Kingdom, and that puts us there just in time to see the transformation of Cinderella’s castle!  Oh my gosh – it’s so beautiful!

We have a dinner reservation at Liberty Tree Tavern.  Uh oh.  Something got stuck.  I’m not really sure what it’s called, but stuck is what it feels like.  It’s when I eat something that seems to stick somewhere in my upper chest region.  I feel lumpy there, and I feel like I should throw up but often can’t.  It’s such an uncomfortable feeling, and I end up making 3 trips to the bathroom, praying to be able to throw up or for the walking to help it move down.  Finally, it did move, and I felt better.  I also got great pictures of the kids with the characters, so that made the meal worth it, despite not being able to eat much.  And, as a bonus, they only charged me a kid’s price!

The party is wonderful!  I love the special events at Disney World.  The party was sold out, but there didn’t seem to be lines for anything.  The kids rode a few rides, we saw a fantastic Christmas parade, the fireworks were amazing.  This year, in addition to giving guests hot chocolate and sugar cookies, you could also select apple juice and apple slices – they were a huge hit with my kids.

We ended up staying at the park until just past 11 o’clock.  Tomorrow will be a long day at EPCOT, and I know the girls will be tired.  They are back at the hotel and in bed around 11:45, but both of them fell asleep in the car on the way home.  That will certainly help in the morning 🙂

Jolly Holidays Monday

Leave a comment Standard

You know when you plan the perfect vacation, and everything is falling into place, and you can’t wait to get started, watching the kids enjoy themselves and then you start to relax and enjoy yourself?  Yeah.  Ain’t happenin’.  This is a Skamarakas family trip – did you expect the Brady Bunch?

I woke up early this morning – what else is new? – and went to the bathroom before waking Jim and asking him if he wanted to get up early with me, eat breakfast out on the balcony watching the animals before the kids got up.  He reluctantly agreed.  I quickly made breakfast for Jim, grabbed a protein bar for myself, and sat outside.  Then had to go to the bathroom.  Then ran back outside.  Then had to go to the bathroom.  Yes, ladies, you might recognize this as a symptom of a urinary tract infection.  I drink a gallon of water – give or take an ounce – and hope for the best.  The plan is to go to SeaWorld, then hit Walmart for a few things I didn’t know I needed – cranberry juice and Azo tablets – and to pick up a bag of groceries that never made it into our shopping cart yesterday.  We also left a bunch of stuff at Jim’s mom’s house, but I realize how low in importance it is when the pain from the UTI kicks in. 

We get the kids up, dressed, and fed, and we are on our way to SeaWorld.  The gallon of water is helping minimally, and I am in such great discomfort walking around SeaWorld that by 1 o’clock, I really can’t stand it anymore.  We decide to head out of the park and grab some lunch and then hit Walmart for the stuff we need.  Not sure where we want to eat, Jim starts heading down International Drive from SeaWorld, and we figure we’ll find some place we’ve never eaten to try, and then we pass Cafe TuTu Tango.  This was one of our favorite places when we lived in Orlando, but we haven’t been here in years.  If you have never been, this is a tapas style restaurant – basically, a menu full of appetizers.  It’s perfect for someone who has had gastric bypass surgery!  We choose a few things we think the kids will enjoy – steamed dumplings, chicken pizza, scallops, hummus and chips, and black bean soup.  It really makes a full meal for everyone at the table, and the girls are given pictures to color of Backyardigans characters – Granuaile’s favorite.  Another of the neat things about TuTu Tango is that they display the works of local artists all over the walls, and when the girls are done their pictures, the waitress brings them tape so they can add their art to the beautiful displays.  Eilis puts a price tag of $2 on hers – a bargain at twice the price.

Bordering on agony, I am finally on my way to Walmart.  I grab a six pack of diet cranberry juice and the box of Azo, a nightgown, since I forgot to pack one, and we get the groceries that we left behind the day before.  I pick up a rotisserie chicken for dinner, and we are on our way back to the hotel.  Tonight in the lobby there is a craft set up.  The kids can pay $5 and make a Christmas ornament using dyed broken ostrich egg shells.  We pay for Eilis to do one – the money goes to animal conservation – and she happily sets about making a blue giraffe, which, of course, is exquisite 🙂  They give her a button which says she has helped with animal conservation, and we head up to the room for dinner.  The Azo is kicking in THANK YOU MAKERS OF AZO!!, and I am finally feeling a little bit better.  I take the girls downstairs and at the gift shop, they are getting ready to hold a parade.  The kids get to choose an instrument from the shop, and they parade around the immense lobby of Animal Kingdom Lodge singing, “We are in Africa!” over and over again.  It’s so much fun for the kids, they want to do it every night of the vacation!

We head back upstairs, have a bedtime snack of cookies and milk (thank you, Jim, for the nice cookies you picked up for the kids – they loved them as much as you do), and head off to bed.  No rush to get out tomorrow, since the plan is just to go to Magic Kingdom for the Very Merry Christmas Party.

Jolly Holidays, Sunday

Leave a comment Standard

I am up way too early.  My internal alarm clock seems permanently set on 6 something in the morning, and I don’t know how to break the habit!  I may have to find out during Christmas break!

I get up, and quietly start to pack our stuff.  At some point, Jim wakes up, and he starts getting himself ready.  When the girls get up, so as not to disturb anyone, I give them cereal and juice, and then I start to get them ready to go.  At that point, Dot and Russ wake up, and the kids decide they need “second breakfast” – a hot and delicious eggs and bacon, which certainly makes them forget the cereal they have already eaten. 

We take our time, load up the car, and we all head to CiCi’s Pizza for lunch. When lunch is over, we head to our hotel – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.  This is our first trip “home” as Animal Kingdom DVC owners.  We checked in and found our room was not ready, so we headed over to do the grocery shopping.  The thing I like best about the villas at DVC is the kitchen and laundry facilities in your room.  It’s a great money saver to have the ability to make some meals – especially breakfast – and to keep snacks and drinks handy.  And going home with all clean clothes is AWESOME!  We hit Walmart and do our shopping, picking up more than we need of everything (come on, who doesn’t do that at Walmart?).  By then, we can check into our villa.

I had booked a 2 bedroom, working on the assumption that my mom would be coming with us.  She doesn’t feel up to it, and we have a ton of room.  The thing is, this is a lock off – meaning it’s really a 1 bedroom and a studio that are opened up at the connecting door to make it a 2 bedroom.  I feel a little cheated here, because I have tried to change our reservation to a 1 bedroom several times, only to be told they are not available.  They could have made another family happy by closing this unit off. 

This is, as I said, our first trip to AKL villas, and they are GORGEOUS!  The counter tops are all granite, and the color scheme is very earthy.  The CM who brought up our luggage tells us that AKL is now the largest African museum in America, and every piece in the unit is authentic – from the carved wood headboard and armoire to the art work.  I love how they incorporated things from The Lion King – my all time favorite Disney movie.  The room is just beautiful.

We have a nice dinner – Granuaile’s favorite – hot dogs.  And then we sit on the balcony and watch the animals.  We also have a great view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks, and we watch them each night that we are in the room.  We headed to the gift shop and rented a couple of movies, and Granuaile falls asleep early.  We’re visiting SeaWorld tomorrow, so we’re trying to be well rested.  The rest of us head to bed about 11 with no plan to rush getting up in the morning.  They’re saying the weather will be beautiful all week.  I can’t wait!