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Old 18 Jun 16, 10:17 AM  
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Caroian
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The "Years in the Making" Trip - Day 4 (Swimming, MK, Festival of Fantasy and Hoop De Doo)

We had a much slower start today, as it was the first day we had planed to do something in the evening. I’d made a note that we stayed in bed until around 7am. I can safely say that this meant we sat in bed until 7am, not that we were asleep until that time as if Thomas ever achieved that I’d certainly remember it!

He definitely spent some time introducing Minnie Mouse to his trains this morning. (Yes, we actually took wooden train track all the way to Florida! A teeny tiny bit of his massive collection of track and trains.)









In the provisional itinerary we’d pencilled in a possible waterpark for this morning. However as we hadn’t yet been in the pool at OKW, and because Thomas is something of a reluctant swimmer too, heading here for our first Florida pool experience seemed the best idea - much more relaxing and less overwhelming that a waterpark. So we had some Lucky Charms and donuts (donuts are good for swimming right - the air in the hole helps you to float!) and then headed round to the main pool. We arrived at about 9 and had the place pretty much to ourselves.

I should mention here that Ian does not swim at all - he has a genuine phobia of being it water deeper than a bath. We’ve made a lot of efforts to keep this fear from Thomas (which has not been too hard as Ian simply hasn’t really been around water much with him) but perhaps there is some sort of genetic component as Thomas has never been that keen on water either. I took him diligently to baby swimming lessons from 2 months old, but from around 6 months old he started just screaming and clinging desperately to me whenever we were in the water. The teacher at the time said it was “water wobbles” and he’d get over it if we just kept coming. Easy for you to say love - you’re not the one spending a fortune (how much can they get away with charging for kids’s swimming lessons?!) to stand in a swimming pool with a distraught child. So we stopped. And it’s been stop start ever since. He started with his current swimming teacher last September though, who has been absolutely fantastic and we’ve made some massive progress. It took six months but he is finally letting his face get wet and actually having fun in the water.

At home he uses a swim fin very effectively, but those things are huge, so I wasn’t bringing one with us. He also uses a noodle/woggle a lot though, so we’d picked him up one at Publix (the poor guy couldn’t find a price, so just charged us a dollar). Disney also provide life jackets at all of their pools. I was worried that he wouldn’t want to wear one, or that it may interfere with the way he has been taught to swim, but actually we found them pretty good. Whether it was the relaxation of being on holiday, or the fact that both me and his grandparents were in the water with him too, he was absolutely loving it. He kept giggling and saying how much fun he was having, even when putting his face in the water. It’s fair to say that even though we didn’t end up going to the pools that much, his swimming really came on even more. He was excited about going to the pools, to the point of disappointment if we said that we couldn’t for any reason!





Stick with it, I promise today's photos get better!

Anyway, after that massive digression about swimming… back to our day!

We stayed in the pool for about an hour and a half before heading back for showers and to change. We stopped to fill up our mugs and then to get an OKW pressed penny in the reception area. One of the concierge staff had great fun with Thomas, stealing his hat and taking a selfie with it.

Once dressed we hopped on a bus to the Magic Kingdom, arriving around 11.30. The Move It , Shake It dance party was in progress. We headed to Caseys to get hot dogs and managed to get a seat outside so we could hear and see the end of the parade. we managed to half see this a few times during the trip, and it’s the sort of thing that generally Thomas would love, but it is just SO loud. I’m sure it must be possible to turn it down a couple of notches! Thomas never wanted to stop and join in as he always had his hands over his ears. And I don’t suffer with his sensitive hearing, but I had a lot of sympathy!







Look at the SIZE of that meal!

This lunch also saw the “hump backed bridge chip gate”. So, Ian had this chip in amongst his mahooosive pile. Thomas instantly spied it and said that it looked like a railway bridge (remember that the boy is train obsessed!) He wanted to save this chip in order to eat it last. Somehow, however, it ended up on the floor. Now, I’m not a precious parent. A bit of dirt builds a good immune system and all that, and we definitely apply the… erm…(generous) five second rule in ur own house on our own clean(ish) floors. But this was in the middle of Casey’s Corner. There were ducks and pigeons running around everywhere, and at least a thousand feet must have crossed that path that morning. There was no way I was letting him eat off the floor! Cue a melt down. I’m not totally sure how we got out of that one, although I do remember trying to fashion a similar a chip and failing! We ended up with this photo as a consolation and somehow moved on.







We headed over to Tomorrowland, as our first FP was for Buzz Lightyear. We had time for a quick trip on the People Mover, which we really thought Thomas would love. And he did, with the exception of the various dark bits. Going through Space Mountain really is very dark, especially in contrast to the bright outside. Here we are, looking a bit like we forgot to bring some of our gorms on holiday with us!







Thomas always points out warning signs. He’s a real stickler for the rules! Even pre-Thomas we loved a good “stick man in peril” sign and have always made a bit of a joke about them. It hadn’t really occurred to me until recently that doing so is a reasonably good way to divert Thomas away from getting too stressed about “dangers” whilst still respecting the safety rules. In this case he pointed out that there was to be “no dancing” in the People Mover please.











Next up was an absolute classic - The Carousel of Progress. This is one that Ian had been really looking forward to as a first timer, and was very nostalgic for the rest of us. Except Thomas of course. He was a bit bemused by it, as well as by Mummy and Grandpa’s singing. Come along then… let’s all have a rousing round of “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow…."













Finally it was time for our Buzz Fastpass. Thomas ride with Ian and I and really enjoyed those. he liked being in charge of the spinning, and all I could hear was him laughing his head off the whole way through! I won with a score of 599000 or thereabout. I have absolutely no idea how! I was trailing well behind, then all of a sudden had this massive score. I had read that there are some “bonus” targets that give you a he score, but had not looked them up - I don’t think I’d have found them even if I knew where to look to be honest - but my guess is that I may have inadvertently hit one of those!





Look at the concentration on those faces!

It was really hot by now, so we took a slow wander down Main Street having a look in the shops and then sitting in the shade down one of the side streets.We had a Fastpass for the parade, so headed towards the FP area. It took us a while to get over to the entrance to the FP area, which was in the middle of the Town Square, but the flag pole. Every time we tried to cross over to it, we’d get directed a different way by a different cast member. One even told us we could only go over there if we had a fastpass, without asking whether we did. We gave an exasperated “we have” and she finally let us cross the road! (I understand they were keeping it clear for the marching bands, but it just felt necessarily difficult to navigate!)





When we got in to the area itself, we were directed straight to the middle and then left, so that we ended up directly opposite the station. There were only a couple of other people on this side of the FP area at this time, so we got a nice seat on the curb, with Thomas remaining in his stroller behind us for the time being. Two minutes later we encountered yet more over zealous CMs. The first came and told us this was a FP area. We said yes, we knew and we had them which was why we had been let in here (insert rather large eye roll). Two minutes later a much more officious CM came and said “This is a fastpass area”. I had to bite my tongue not to say “No ≈≈≈≈ sherlock. You know, all the signs that say FP+ and the fact that we had to scan our MBs to get in kind of gave it away and then it was reinforced by CMs keep telling us…."

Yeah, I didn’t say that, we just smiled again and said “yes, we have fast passes”. Except this clearly wasn’t good enough anymore.

“You’re in the wrong area” he barked. We pointed out that we had been directed to this exact spot by the CM at the entrance. He was really quite rude in responding that we couldn’t possibly have been and started unclipping and moving the ropes around to make it look as though the area was now cordoned off. To be honest, there was no way we were moving. The entire of the central Town Square was surrounded with a rope that said FP+. We all had Fastpasses and as far as I’m aware there aren’t some “better” fast passes than others that allow you access to slightly different parts of the FP area! I was just getting fed up by now. So we just decided to ignore this CM having a rant around us. After a couple of minutes of wandering around he came back and conceded that yes, we were right, and this was indeed a perfectly acceptable place to be sitting.

To be honest, I wasn’t really all that impressed with the FP for the parade. Anyone concerned that they no longer do them really needn’t be. We booked it because we had plenty of days scheduled in the MK so could do so without compromising on anything else. However what I hadn’t taken in was that the area was in the Town Square (rather than the hub, where it used to be, but in reality that was a long time ago). This means it is right at the very end of the parade route and is also in full sun at 3pm! We’d hoped having a fastpass would avoid having to stake out a spot a long time in advance and sit in the sun. Obviously it didn’t work like that though. We had to be there by 2.45pm, and then wait for the parade to come all the way around. So we were sat for a long time in the sun and, rather than when you watch in Frontierland and can get back to the rest of the park whilst everyone is still watching on Main Street, were the last to leave when it finished. If we’d staked out our own spot at least we’d have had a chance at shade too! All the constant telling off from CMs when we were actually in exactly the right place also took the shine off a little bit too!









Nevertheless, it was a fantastic parade. Everything that a Disney parade should be in my mind - large, bright, musical and interactive! I didn’t actually take too many photos (although you may disagree!) as I wanted to enjoy, rather than simply watch through a lens. Sadly it appears I completely failed to catch the dragon actually breathing fire. Ah well, it’s not as though there is a shortage of pictures of that particular moment on the internet! We had no one behind us at all, so Thomas could go up on Ian’s shoulders without any issue at all (please be absolutely assured that we are not *those* people who stick our kids up on shoulders with no though for anyone else). he had a fantastic time boogying along up there and waving his heart out. He got high fives from several of the seven dwarves too!



















































The other problem with the FP area being at the bottom of Main street was that we had to then double back in to the park again! Ian and I had FPs for Space Mountain, Originally my parents were meant to be going on SDMT again with Thomas, but after Tuesday’s performance, we had decided to change that one and they were off to do Winnie the Pooh (which we also had more FPs for later in the trip, fortunately as it turned out!)

The stand by line for Space was at 55mins, but we walked straight on. At one point though the lights went out completely in the queue and it was so dark I could only keep moving by feeling along the handrail!) It was a good ride, pretty much how I remembered (although I think there was still only one track the last time I went on it!). I agree that it is a bit of a bone shaker, but lots of fun.




We walked back to Main Street as we were meeting by the Plaza Ice cream Parlour. We made it back first, so had some PP pictures to pass the time. When the others got back they’d had a fantastic time! Thomas had not wanted to come out of Poohs house because he loved it so much, but then got on to the ride and loved that just as much! When we asked him later what the best thing about today was, the instant reply was “Winnie the Pooh!” It really is s ride that ticks all the boxes for a lot of kids.







We then headed out of the MK to get the boat over to Fort Wilderness for the Hoop De Doo Revue.









It was on the boat that we had an encounter with yet another odd CM (I really think we must have been pretty unlucky today!) We boarded with the stroller folded up and no one said anything about where to put them, so we copied literally every other group with a stroller and kept it with us in the foot space by our seats. We were siitting in the outdoor space at the front. It was in no one’s way, and there was enough room for our feet too. The CM then made an announcement that all the strollers “need to be put [mumble mumble unintelligible] at the back”. Nobody understood, so nobody moved. “Look, put your strollers at the back” the CM declared. So several people got up with their strollers and… no one knew where to put them. there was no more information forthcoming, so they ended up stacked to one side of the boat. (Remember this fact shortly!)

The CM then started asking everyone where they were off to. He started chattering on about the Backyard BBQ and stating there was no point in going if you didn’t dance as they would “force” you to dance. He then asked who was going to Hoop de Doo and gave us an odd look when we raised our hands. He said “you know it’s an adult show, yes?” Erm… I thought it was a family show. “And you’ll get the spotlight on you and then you’ll have to go up on the stage” I must admit that at this point I was a little concerned about what we had got ourselves in to!

Next up was a little Disney movies quiz. Thomas knew the answers to most of the questions but didn’t want to put his hand up and say. When he asked who the monster was in Frozen, Thomas suddenly piped up really loudly from his little corner “Marshmallow!” The CM said “yes, ok… but you didn’t put your hand up”. Blimey, I didn’t realise we were at school!

I’m not sure if this guy was trying to be funny, but it just felt like he wasn’t quite hitting the mark with his “jokes” or style.

We then came in to dock and he disappeared inside only to come back with a very officious announcement that we weren’t docking until everyone who had put their stroller in the wrong place had moved them. Yes… you guessed it.. all our strollers were in the wrong place! (As a spoiler, we kept it with us by our feet on the way back, and unsurprisingly it was no problem!).



We were actually quite early, having wanted to allow plenty of time and because the Pioneer Hall is literally a two minute walk from the boat dock. Thomas had a good time playing in the playground area and then we had another one of those “poo dance” episodes (you’ll need to read day one for the background to this one!) I don’t want to go on about poo too much, but sadly Thomas needing a poo did become a bit of a reoccurring theme! It took three trips to the restrooms and the bribe of a Hoop De Doo pressed pen to convince him to finally “just go!"

He then went to have a little explore around the trees.

Now, I feel like I need to say something about these pictures. When the tragic news about the alligator attack came out this week, there was something in my mind about it that I couldn’t put my finger on. We hadn’t been to the Grand Floridian on this trip, and there is no beach at OKW, so I knew that Thomas hadn’t been near to the water in those places. It wasn’t until I looked back through these pictures that I realised it was what I was thinking of. These were taken on my dad’s camera on a pretty long zoom. We were a good few seconds sprint across the grass away, yet I still consider he was under our direct supervision and we never took our eyes off him. I’ve read so much that seems so accusatory and “holier than thou” since the news broke. People saying that they would never have allowed their child to “do that” to “be that far away” or “to paddle in water where there was “obviously” alligators”. The thing is, it is very easy to say that after such a tragic accident has happened. But honestly, what would all those people have done in real life before that accident? Yes, Thomas wasn’t that close to the edge here. And it wasn’t yet dusk, never mind dark. But had he been closer to the edge, had it been darker, would I have immediately stop him? I can’t honestly say that I would. I just don’t know because I wasn’t in that situation. I’ve always know there are alligators in water in Florida, but I can also say that it simply wasn’t on my mind here. Because these things don’t occur to you. And it’s all too easy to sit behind your keyboard after an event and tell everyone that it would have been. For what it is worth, I believe it was a really tragic accident, a moment of absolutely monumental bad luck and wrong-place-wrong-time. But whatever, that poor family have to live with it for the rest of their lives. My heart absolutely goes out to them.









I’ll move on now, because I can. It’s so awful for them that they can’t.





It was soon time to check in, and we managed to do this and get our family photo and get undercover before the heavens opened. Fortunately it only lasted a few minutes, but it did cause a bit of chaos with the checking in process. We were soon let in and had a pretty good table to the left of the stage. When the performers bust in from the back I caught a glimpse through the door that it was bucketing down again. Looks like we made a good choice with timing!











We really enjoyed the Hoop De Doo. (There was absolutely nothing “adult” about it - bar that some of the jokes would have gone over kids’ heads. But then, not being American, I think a few of them went over ours!) Thomas had an absolute whale of a time. He got fits of the giggles simply because other people were laughing and he thought it was hilarious.











The food was simple, but good - delicious corn bread (yes, it’s basically cake, but I’m of the thinking that cake can NEVER be wrong) fried chicken, ribs, mask and corn. Even Thomas ate quite a lot. They offered to bring us mac ’n' cheese for him if he didn’t like the other food. Thomas much prefers chicken and corn over mac ’n’ cheese, but it’s good to know they can rustle up an additional option for kids. There was also free wine and beer included, which was a plus. They kept topping our beers up, which actually made it a little difficult to keep track of how much we’d had! And the dessert was as fantastic as people had promised. And absolutely enormous!







Thomas really enjoyed waving his napkin about in the air and kept jumping up to do his own little dance in the space by our table. When they brought the washboards out, he was scraping at his with so much gusto, I thought he might wear it out!









Once it was over we headed outside to find huge puddles from what had obviously been a pretty big downpour.





We caught the boat back to the MK (no odd CM or stroller issues this time!) and there was a bus already there for OKW. Unfortunately Thomas was so desperate for a wee on the bs that he got pretty upset, however we made it back in one piece. I’m not sure exactly what time it was, but definitely our latest so far an we were all pretty much straight to bed.
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Old 18 Jun 16, 10:53 AM  
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Great trip report. The only thing my 2 year old didn't like at the whole of disneworld was the dance parade. He also found it far too loud.

We love carousel of progress. I'm joining in with your singing.
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Old 18 Jun 16, 12:09 PM  
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What a lovely day

I love how you captured Thomas' reactions at Hoop-De-Doo - you can really see how much he's enjoying it.

A nicely worded mention of this week's tragic events too - I cannot even begin to imagine...
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Old 18 Jun 16, 12:31 PM  
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Lovely day - apart from the miserable CMs raining on your magic! Glad you enjoyed yourselves.

Well said about the horrendous incident - it's so sad xx
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Old 18 Jun 16, 12:35 PM  
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Fab day. I love the fact that you have to travel with a train set.

Shame about the parade area. We always watch from Frontierland for the very same reasons you mention.

Glad Thomas enjoyed the HDD. I have pics of my husband also loving the napkin waving and the washboard!

Love your dress by the way.
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Old 18 Jun 16, 03:09 PM  
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Another great day - I'm enjoying reading along.

Your comments about the tragic events at GF are very profound and so true. I agree with every word X
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Old 18 Jun 16, 08:52 PM  
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Another great day, Thomas looks like he's having a fantastic time.
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Old 19 Jun 16, 09:36 AM  
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Caroian
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Originally Posted by waiting4disney View Post
Great trip report. The only thing my 2 year old didn't like at the whole of disneworld was the dance parade. He also found it far too loud.

We love carousel of progress. I'm joining in with your singing.
Thank you Glad it's not just us that finds it a bit loud, but I wish they could turn it down a tiny bit!

Originally Posted by HEMANCLOFTY View Post
What a lovely day

I love how you captured Thomas' reactions at Hoop-De-Doo - you can really see how much he's enjoying it.

A nicely worded mention of this week's tragic events too - I cannot even begin to imagine...
Thank you He really did love Hoop de Doo. I'd like to try a different dinner show next time, but it would be hard not to do it again because he loved it so much!

Real tragedy than none of us can really begin to imagine

Originally Posted by sheluk View Post
Lovely day - apart from the miserable CMs raining on your magic! Glad you enjoyed yourselves.

Well said about the horrendous incident - it's so sad xx
Thank you We seemed to encounter a few miserable or odd CMs over the trip but this was the worst day for sure!

Originally Posted by HelenJNT View Post
Fab day. I love the fact that you have to travel with a train set.

Shame about the parade area. We always watch from Frontierland for the very same reasons you mention.

Glad Thomas enjoyed the HDD. I have pics of my husband also loving the napkin waving and the washboard!

Love your dress by the way.
We can't go anywhere without a raft of trains! Didn't want to risk 3 weeks without some track to put them on... we may have faced meltdown, bless him and his train obsession!

Hoop de Doo is great for kids of all ages!

Thank you - the dress was a cheeky sale purchase specifically for the holiday, but it so comfy that it's going to be a favourite!

Originally Posted by bearandbuzz View Post
Another great day - I'm enjoying reading along.

Your comments about the tragic events at GF are very profound and so true. I agree with every word X
Than you I'm glad you are enjoying reading.

Originally Posted by disneytrio View Post
Another great day, Thomas looks like he's having a fantastic time.
Thanks - he really did have a great time
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Old 20 Jun 16, 01:12 PM  
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What a fab day, your photos of the parade are stunning... totally worth the wait in that heat!

I really appreciate your poignant comments about the tragic incident at GF, as a non-parent it is very easy to judge so I really appreciate your words and opinions on this truly awful matter from your point of view as a Mummy of a little one. All too heart-breaking for words.

So lovely to see Thomas having such a wonderful time again, what a little star he is!
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Old 20 Jun 16, 09:58 PM  
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Originally Posted by Lisa_Lollipop View Post
What a fab day, your photos of the parade are stunning... totally worth the wait in that heat!

I really appreciate your poignant comments about the tragic incident at GF, as a non-parent it is very easy to judge so I really appreciate your words and opinions on this truly awful matter from your point of view as a Mummy of a little one. All too heart-breaking for words.

So lovely to see Thomas having such a wonderful time again, what a little star he is!
Thank you, on all counts. I was pretty pleased with the parade photos too

Thomas is a little star. He's a proper pickle and a right handful at times, but I wouldn't have him any other way! And I love how much he loved, and appreciated, this trip!
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