WDW: Nov 16

November 16th

Can we pretend this day was my birthday, instead?  Ok, thanks.  Because that’s pretty much what we did.  I woke up to an adorable (and delicious) delivery from Mike & Shelly that had come the night before.  We completely overhauled our plans for the remaining two days, and despite missing a few planned lunches and dinners (one of which we were looking forward to), we were all still in better spirits after a bit of sleep.  

Even after missing rope drop (thanks to yet another delay at the Ticket and Transportation Center), we were determined to have a wonderful last full day.  I was admittedly a bit nervous about the Christmas party (between the late night ahead and poor naps, sick kids, and – gasp! – fireworks present), but was just hoping the parade and castle lights, if absolutely nothing else, would be worth the cost of admission for us.

Eventually, we made it into the Magic Kingdom.  The crowds had decreased drastically (then what was up with the TTC delay?), so we walked directly onto Peter Pan’s Flight and “it’s a small world”.  The girls seemed to be doing a bit better, too.  “I looove the cuckoos! [on “iasw”]”  “Was that a fun ride, mama?” “Oh, it’s chilly!  Are you chilly, dada?”  “Winnie the Pooh isn’t closed anymore, it’s open!”  My sweet, fun, talkative girls were back.  Crowds were down.  Weather was still perfect (would we really break our streak?!).  And, most importantly, we were together.  And at the Magic Kingdom.  And we had survived yesterday.  Happy Birthday to me!

We did ride Winnie the Pooh (which the girls adored as we told them they did, despite Avery’s weird anxiety about it prior to our trip).  The new queue area, though not even really open or operating that day (the first day after the refurbishment) is absolutely incredible.  We might not even mind waiting in it next time!

Next, we headed over to Adventureland to meet Ariel!  Elise and Avery were really excited, so I was too.  I must say, I couldn’t help but be (and stay) kind of bummed that her grotto was closed and we’d meet her as a human instead of a mermaid.  When I bought the most beautiful Ariel mermaid costumes I had ever seen, it was in anticipation of a particular picture that will never happen.  I think I need to lower my expectations 😉  Still, it was incredible.  I swear to you, she spent nearly five full minutes with the girls.  They sang songs together (Under the Sea and “The girl who has….. everything” (hehe, also known as Part of Your World)), she talked to them about their trip and swimming and their fins and her friends (the other princesses) and “the crab names Sebastian” and Eric and… I could go on.  If I can brag for a minute, I think she was pretty impressed with them.  I know I sure love them, and that meeting was one we will never forget!

From there we went to Tom Sawyer Island (I think the girls would LOVE running around here), but by the time our raft actually made it over, it was much, much later than we had estimated.  We spent just a couple of minutes there before heading back to the mainland.  At least we got to ride the rafts, which Avery loved.  The only questionable moment (which in reality turned out to be hilarious) was when the Liberty Belle riverboat came by.  It scared Avery for a moment, until she realized she could help.  “Watch out, raft!  Stop boat!” – complete with hand motions.  She was successful in preventing the disastrous collision she so clearly anticipated, so all was well. My two-year-old hero. 🙂

We ate a quick lunch at Columbia Harbour House and headed back to the hotel.  Even though the girls usually don’t nap well in the room, we were going to take a gamble this time – because we REALLY needed their best nap ever while on vacation.  Since we had most of the afternoon to spare, we thought we’d just blacken the room and let them take as long as they needed to get to sleep… then pray it lasted!

Elise ended up napping just an hour or so, but she has always done much better than Avery on naps in the 30-60 minute range (their norm for quite a while).  Kyle took her to the pool while I sat back with Avery, who ended up sleeping over 2.5 hours.  That might be her best nap ever (I’m pretty sure of it) let alone just while on vacation!  If only we had 5 or 6 hours to kill every day of vacation to facilitate hotel room naps and girls who fight them. 😉  I had just started to text Kyle that we wouldn’t be joining them since she slept so long (and apparently hates water this trip anyway), when he told me the Children’s play area was now open.  You see, this was the biggest reason we wanted to return to Animal Kingdom Lodge now that Kidani Village is open – the giant splash area.  It was closed earlier in the week which made me so sad, so when I got this news I knew she had to at least check it out.  Our entire day was spent at the wrong park (and then at the resort) so what was a bit more change, right?  I know, growth.  🙂

She loved it (as did Elise)… but seriously, how could she not?  It was like 3 separate splash areas AND a playground in one.  So great!

Kyle ended up staying back with Avery for a little while, while I took Elise to the room.  It was getting late and we still needed to work in another 30 minute treatment before leaving for the Christmas party. I don’t think she minded leaving since she was freezing, and it was made even easier by the fact that she could do her breathing treatment while watching, literally, a dozen animals hang out outside her window.  Certainly beats the shower curtain she usually looks at here!

As soon as she was done, we got ready as quickly as we could since it was hours later than we planned, and the evening’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party was about to begin!