Friday, December 23, 2011

Day 8 - Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom (last day at Disney!!)

On Friday, our last day at Disney, we wanted to see some things that we missed the first time.  The kids only went to Hollywood Studios one other time and the first time we missed the Playhouse Disney show.  So when we got there, that was the first thing that we did.  This show was about 20 minutes long and of course, the kids loved it!

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

Handy Manny

Little Einstines

After Playhouse Disney, Alyssa really wanted to see The Little Mermaid show again, so we did.  By this time, it was almost noon so we decided to head back to the condo so the kids could get a good nap.  Leonard's parents came over to the condo in the afternoon.  Malachi was still sleeping but Alyssa woke up, so we decided to take Alyssa back to Magic Kingdom one last time.

The first thing we did was see the fairies by the Fairytale Garden. Alyssa met Rosetta first.

Then she met Tinkerbell!  She was so excited!  Tinkerbell even gave her some "pixie dust".

After the fairies, we went on these rides:
-Jungle Cruise (Safari boat ride)
-The Magic Carpets of Aladdin (just like Dumbo but with flying carpets)
-Haunted Mansion (Alyssa was scared in a few spots)
-It's a Small World

Overall, we had a very productive Disney trip.  We got to meet a lot of characters and go on a lot of rides.  I am sure that the kids were exhausted by the end of the week.  The only thing that I wanted to do but wasn't able to because it was completely booked was a character meal.  I really wanted to take Alyssa to a breakfast at Cinderella's castle, and I am sure she would have loved it.  Too bad they get booked up months in advance!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Book review: A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner

Taking a break from the Disney posts.  Don't worry, they will be back tomorrow!

A little over a month ago, I was reading a post on my friends homeschooling blog, Living and Learning at home.  In this post, my friend had written a review on a book for a website called Blogging for Books.  If you're a blogger, then you can receive free books in exchange for a review on your blog.  This is a wonderful resource if you love to read and have a blog, because we all know how much new books cost and how quickly the cost can add up.  Since I love to read, I signed up and received my first book within a week.

The first book that I chose to review was A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner
A Sound Among the Trees: A Novel

Read an excerpt from the book here!

This is the first book that I have ever read by Susan Meissner.  A Sound Among the Trees takes place in present day Virginia.  It is a story about a house (Holly Oak), it's inhabitants and everything that it and they have been though in the past 150 years.  Part of the story focuses on Adelaide, an almost ninety year old woman who has lived in the house her entire life.  Many people in the town believe that Holly Oak is haunted by the ghost of Susannah Page, Adelaide's great-grandmother.  It was rumored that Susannah was a Civil War spy for the North and that she was a traitor.  Many bad things have been happening to the people that have lived in the Holly Oak over the years, especially the women, and people believe that it is Susannah's ghost looking for a pardon.  Adelaide believes that it's really the house, not Susannah, that is causing all these misfortunes.  Marielle, has just married Carson, Adelaide's late granddaughters husband.  She joined the family fairly quickly and is starting to hear the rumors.   She wants to figure out what is really going on, is it the house or Susannah?  There are so many mysteries and rumors surrounding the house and family to uncover. 

Based on the description of the book, it was actually not at all what I thought it was going to be like.  The book description made it sound like the book was going to be a ghost story, when in actuality, I would describe it more as a love story.  There is obviously a love story going on between Marielle and Carson but also a love story going on with Susannah.

Overall, I thought that the book was very well written.  It was easy to follow and one could easily pick back where they left off (even if it was a few days!)  My favorite part of the book were the letters between Susannah and her cousin.  The author did an awesome job of using description in these letters, and this made it very easy to imagine what it would have been like during the time of the Civil War.  Susan Meissner will definitely be on my radar as an author to watch out for!  I can't wait to read more of her books!

**I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review**

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day 7 - Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios

By Thursday, we had been to all the parks at least once.  We decided to head back to Magic Kingdom since there were some more rides that we didn't get a chance to go on.

We all went on the Pirates of the Carribean ride. Malachi was a little scared during certain parts.  The ride is mostly in the dark. Of course they added a few different scenes (that went along with the movies) since the last time I was there fifteen years ago. 

Leonard's parents offered to watch the kids for the afternoon, so Leonard and I went to Hollywood Studios to meet up with Zach and his wife Tracy.

Leonard and I then went on some of the rides at Hollywood Studios that the kids couldn't go on.  Later in the afternoon, we headed back to Magic Kingdom and were able to go on some of the coasters there.  Leonard's parents then brought the kids back to the park for some more rides.

The kids absolutely loved the Tomorrowland Peoplemover.  We went on it twice because Malachi requested it.  It was actually more interesting then we thought it would be because it went through a few of the rides (Buzz Lightyear and Space Mountain).

Another ride we went on twice was the Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin.  This ride is like a game and the object is to shoot space aliens.

We ended the evening with fireworks at Cinderella's castle.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 6 - Animal Kingdom

On Wed, Dec. 7th, we spent the day at Animal Kingdom.  Animal Kingdom is the newest of all the Disney World parks. 

In some ways I feel that it is like a big zoo.  There are lots of animal exhibits to see.  Definitely not as many rides, especially not for the younger kids.  Most of the animal exhibits in this park close at dusk and the park in general closes earlier than most of the other parks. 

One of the first things we did was walk on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.  Along this trail, there were different animal exhibits that you could stop at.  Throughout the trail, there were buildings that housed additional animals.  All of the animals along this trail were originally found in Africa. 

When we came to this bridge, I thought I was in heaven!

FISHIES (Koi and African Ciclids to be exact)!!  Hundreds of them!!

And past the bridge was a building.  Guess what was in the building?!?!? 

Huge tanks full of more fish!!!  Awesome!!  I could have spent a long time in these two areas but no one else wanted to stay as long as I did.  :-(

The second thing that we did was go on the Kilimanjaro Safari.  It was 30 minutes long but the kids really liked it. 

Waiting for the Safari

There were three shows that we went to at Animal Kingdom.  The first was The Festival of the Lion King.  This show was about 25 minutes long.  I personally didn't think it was that great but many other people really liked it.  The kids got bored about half way through. 

The show many consisted of acrobatic acts and songs from the Lion King.

The second show that we went to was Finding Nemo - The musical.  I thought it was pretty good.  It was about 30 minutes long.  Malachi fell asleep 20 minutes in but Alyssa paid attention the entire time. 

The third show was It's Tough to be a Bug.  It featured the characters from Bug's Life and was in 4-D.  It was a little too scary for Malachi. 

We only went on one ride and that was at Dinoland U.S.A.  It was the Triceratop Spin and was very similar to Dumbo except with Triceratops.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 5 of our trip - Magic Kingdom!!!! part 2

Besides the parades and the characters, there are many different rides at Magic Kingdom.

The first ride the kids went on was the Mad Tea Party.  I was not a huge fan of this ride so my husband and his father went on it with the kids.  They actually went on this ride twice in a row because they enjoyed it so much!

Another ride that my kids loved was The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  This ride was about 7 or 8 minutes long.  It took you though different scenes in the Pooh story books. 

The Dumbo ride was also a favorite.

Other rides my kids enjoyed but we didn't get pictures of were
-Prince Charming Carrousel
-Peter Pan's Flight
-Snow White's Scary Adventure (a little scary for Malachi but wasn't too bad)

Magic Kingdom also has a 3-D show called Mickey's PhilharMagic.  It's really neat and from the outside, doesn't look like much but the kids really liked the show.  It was about 10-15 minutes.

Malachi in the 3-D glasses

Sometime in 2012, Disney is going to be opening a new addition to Fantasy Land.  This new addition will include Belle's Castle. 

Sneak Peek of Belle's Castle

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 5 of our trip - Magic Kingdom!!! Part 1

Cinderella's castle

On Tuesday, we went to the Magic Kingdom.  This was the park that the kids were looking forward to the most. 

The first thing we did was wait in line to see some princesses.  The kids got to meet Princess Aurora again and Belle from Beauty and the Beast.  I actually think Malachi enjoyed the princesses just as much as Alyssa did.  They thought he was cute and called him a prince.

Belle is my favorite!

There are also parades down main street and a show at the castle.  I highly suggest the show at the castle, especially for young children.  I didn't take any pictures but it was really good and it's only about 20 minutes long.  I did get pictures of the two different parades.  If you can only make it to one of the parades, I suggest the later parade.  It is a little longer but you see tons of Disney characters and this may be the only time you might see some of them. 

Parade #1 - earlier in the day

Parade #2 - 3 o'clock