Saturday, February 23, 2013

Day 5: Animal Kingdom and Ohana

On Day 5 of our trip we spent the day at Animal Kingdom. The kids were ready to go!

The girls' leggings are from Old Navy and the shirts were a Target find; they had a gray jersey rosette thingy in the area where the Mickey is now; I used a seam ripper to take it off and appliqued the Mickey over the area. :)
Waiting at the bus stop!

Shortly after arriving, we did the "It's Tough to Be a Bug" show, which is inside the famous 'Tree of Life' at AK. This tree is amazing!
(Note: the Tough to Be a Bug Show is good but has some scary parts that might frighten younger kids.... spiders dropping from the ceiling, etc. Mary Ella chose not to watch it at all because she knew she'd be scared. She sat backwards in Mom's lap. Sam and Emma Kate loved it. But there were kids a few rows ahead of us who freaked and had to be carried out.)

I love the detail in the trunk of the tree.

Next we went over to Asia and rode Expedition Everest (the grown-ups) a couple times and then headed to our early lunch reservation at Tusker House. This was a character lunch in the Africa section. We were greeted by Donald Duck.

And met several other friends inside!

Loving it.

Or... not loving it so much. :)

The food at Tusker House was buffet style; mostly foods we were accustomed to, but most of them had some sort of African twist. (i.e. Pork tenderloin with a Kenyan BBQ coffee sauce). The warm banana cinnamon bread pudding was TO DIE FOR! Worth the entire meal.

After lunch Sambo fell asleep in the stroller.

And Mary Ella decided to get her face painted like the other 243 kids that were there that day (just kidding.) We waited in line for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, Poppa and Chad went to ride the safari.

Mary Ella was so pumped to be transformed into her favorite mystical creature...

a unicorn.

This guy didn't need any face paint. The glasses were funny enough.

Next we walked to the Kilimanjaro Safari ride and met Poppa and Chad as they were getting off the ride; we rode it again together. Note: Probably a good ride to FastPass and then go ahead and hop in line. Do it first thing!

After the safari we headed to Dino Land, a dinosaur themed area of Animal Kingdom. The adults rode Dinosaur (Note: technically Mary Ella was tall enough to ride but I'm so glad she didn't want to; this ride is way jerky. As in, I may still have whiplash. And pretty scary too. Probably better for grown ups.) and then we all headed over to the Triceratops Spin (which is like the Dumbo ride) and Primeval Whirl, which is basically a tilt-a-whirl on a roller coaster track. Think spinning and hills. Think twice. :)

There are also lots of fun dino-themed activities in this part of the park - a boneyard playground, an area where you can dig for bones, lots of snack and counter service places too. We bought a frozen lemonade but didn't stay too much longer in this area of the park.

In fact, we ended up leaving after this because it was HOT this day and we were pretty worn out. The exhaustion was catching up to us! Plus we needed the rest because we had a 9:40pm dinner reservation at Ohana! (Yes, you read that right: 9:40pm - ha! We reallllly wanted to eat there. But it worked out well because we got back to the room at 4:30pm and had plenty of time to rest up.)

This is the only picture I got of all 3 of them. Of course Sam's eyes are closed. And Emma Kate had changed her pants. Note: Take a change of clothes for little ones each day. Or at least pants. :)

Animal Kingdom's normal hours are 9am - 5pm and then some nights they may open early or close later depending on Extra Magic Hours. To me, this is really a half-day or maybe a 3/4-day park unless you want to do every.single. thing. Which you may! But there are a lot of things that are more on the scientific side - nature walks, trails, Rafiki's Planet Watch which is a train ride that takes you 15 minutes away to watch things like surgery on wild bats, etc... lots of that stuff we decided to skip for obvious reasons. There are also lots of animals around that you can stop to look at if you choose.

I have heard from SO MANY people that Yak & Yeti is an awesome place to eat here! 

Other things you won't want to miss: The Lion King Show, The Nemo Show, and there is also Camp Minnie Mickey with characters along the greeting trails there. We didn't do the shows this time because we've seen them before and everyone was exhausted. There is also a Mickey's Jammin Jungle parade every afternoon!

But, like I said, we needed our rest, so we checked out early and headed back to the room.

Chad and Dad decided to go to Epcot for a while. Mom and I stayed with the kids. Then Mary Ella and I decided on a whim that we'd run over to Epcot too and meet up with the guys. Mary Ella was determined to keep her face paint as long as possible. And she wanted her hair straightened and wanted to wear her princess dress. So we let it be. Note: When in Disney, let it be.

We rode Test Track and walked around for a bit, then it was time to head to the Polynesian Resort's famous "Ohana" restaurant. You can get there by monorail if you are at Epcot or Magic Kingdom.
Ohana was by far my favorite meal at Disney. They serve everything family style, and you don't order; the menu is a set menu, meaning they just bring you everything you could ever want. First was the famous Ohana bread - yummy doughy yeasty bread with hints of pineapple and coconut. Sounds odd but it was divine. Then came the salad - mixed greens with papaya and maybe some other fruit with a sweet mango poppyseed dressing. THEN came the appetizers - honey coriander chicken wings (divine), some type of Asian noodles in a peanut sauce, stir fried vegetables, pork dumplings and more bread.

THEN they bring out these gigantic skewers that are about 3 feet long that they've been cooking over an 18-foot BBQ pit and they give you as much as you want of the following: oak grilled chicken, Asian pork tenderloin, sirloin steak, and spicy peel-n-eat shrimp. And if that isn't enough, this is followed by what I would consider to be the best dessert at Disney World - pineapple coconut bread pudding with vanilla ice cream and a bananas fosters sauce. I could've eaten at Ohana every night and been perfectly satisfied. And perfectly overweight.

 I managed to gain about 10 pounds here and needed Dad's scooter to get back to the bus stop, but it was totally worth it. I have some of my own photos that have not been downloaded to my computer yet; I will go back and add them to this post later. But the moral of the story is this: When in Disney, eat at Ohana. You will not be disappointed! 

See all my Disney posts here!
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

prayers for my friend.

Can I ask you all a favor? Can you please be in prayer for my friend Shane and his wife Paige?
Shane is a dear friend from college. I guess we met my sophomore or junior year, can't remember exactly. He was very involved in the campus ministry and I can't think of a time that he didn't radiate Christ. He is just that kind of person - fun to be around, hard working, funny, down to earth, but most of all, a lover of people. He has always had a way of making everyone around him feel loved. We spent lots of time singing together while at University Church and many nights we would stay at the church late and sing in the stairwell... I can hear his voice so vividly singing the lead in "Rescue" by Acapella, as the other guys would accompany him with the background notes and us girls would just close our eyes and couldn't help but worship.... from the church we would head out to Moody Music Building, where we'd play piano and worship together even more... then we'd head to City Cafe around 4am before getting one hour of sleep and going to class. Shane always had a way of convincing everyone that time together with friends and making those memories was more important than some silly college exam. :)  And he was right.
Worship and loving people.
That pretty much sums up Shane Prater.
And now, he is fighting stage 4 melanoma and he learned today that after 9 months of grueling chemo treatments, the cancer has spread more than ever. I hurt for him as I type this because I just think, "Why, God? Why him?" Just over 2 years ago he miraculously survived a horrendous car accident that by all means should have taken his life. He had to re-learn everything. I remember being so shaken by that event in hearing that he might not make it, and then when he progressed I just thanked God over and over. And then things began to look up - he met Paige, married her, they moved to Montgomery to be closer to work, and the first week in Montgomery he was diagnosed with cancer. I just can't even imagine. With the results of the PET scan and MRI being so devastating, I just feel like I need to ask everyone to please pray... for healing, yes, but for God's mercy too... for His perfect plan to be revealed. Shane is going to be taking 8 chemo pills in addition to a new drug and then he will have another scan on March 27th. Please pray for a miracle for my friend.

I am praying these words for my friend, because they so remind me of him...

As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people
Surround us, Lord. Surround us, O Lord. 
We need to be in your presence. Surround us Lord.

Thou, O Lord, art a shield about me.
You're my glory, you're the lifter of my head
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
You're the lifter of my head...

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Web Finds Wednesday

We are somewhat back to normal this week; still a lot of snot in the house, but I can deal with that.

In other shocking news, I went to the gym with a friend this morning (cue music and singing), and MAN, that helps so much - it's just such a stress reliever to go and sweat for an hour or so, and the adult conversation doesn't hurt either! I need to get my [big] butt in gear and keep going. Summer is just around the corner, ya know, and I've had my 'mom body' so long that I've almost forgotten what I used to look like (too bad there are a million old pictures to remind me. Whatev. And to think I thought I was HUGE back then. Gah. Story of a woman's life, right?)

Anyhow, I digress... on to some web finds...

1. Emily Anderson wrote this post on loving our children - it's oh so good.

2. Melissa at 320 Sycamore made a lovely little list of Pinterest tips she has actually tried and LOVED. So helpful to have reviews of things like this instead of just trusting the description. (i.e. "Rub vaseline all over your entire body and then roll around all over your carpet and your skin will be blemish free by morning...") You know, that kind of stuff.

3. My friend Lauren in Cincinnati made this healthy enchilada bake that I will be trying very soon. I haven't made it yet but Lauren is a foodie and only eats at the best places so I totally trust her taste buds.
(And Lauren also has a "Currently Obsessed" post every week or so with lots of products and fashion reviews, which I love. So check her out.) Lauren, I want to come hang out with you and eat at that pizza place and all the other restaurants you go to. :)

That's all for today. Happy Wednesday!
More Disney posts coming soon. :)

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentines Day Treats

(This was supposed to post on V-Day; I thought it did, but oh well!)

Some sweet little Valentine ideas...

Teddy Grahams and Hershey Kisses from Asher

Trail Mix from Sarah Taylor, with tags that read "Follow the Trail to My Heart"

Glow stick "light sabers" from Wilson. Love this!

And my favorite from this year, from my friend Amy K. and her little girl Hallie...

How cute are these?? And check out the full package...

Here's my Valentine's Day Post from last year, which includes robot and bubbles Valentines as well as why you should not consume an entire container of Walmart sugar cookies. :)

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