So . . . because we had such an amazing time at Walt Disney World last year, we thought we would give it another go. We wanted to make a tradition of taking a Disney vacation every year. But after this year, we may be rethinking that tradition. Let me start by saying the kids had a BLAST! What kid wouldn't, it's Disney World. Perfection for them was achieved by the addition of their only cousins who met us there. The Ordyna family has a coveted talent of being able to go, go, go. The Baggs family . . . not so much. We tried not to switch kids around too much, but we did on a few days. On one of those days, Kyle and I took two of our kids (Eden and Davis) and two Ordyna's (Jerryck and Ky) to Epcot. Several times throughout the day, we would stop and smell the roses. No, literally smell the roses (Epcot was hosting a flower and garden show that week). For a split second each time we stopped, the two Ordyna's would look at us with a "Really?" look on their face. It only lasted a second because they are fantastic kids and didn't complain once about the slow pace.
While we were smelling flowers and watching ducks poop (we seriously did), Joe and Julynn had two of their's and two of ours in the Magic Kingdom. Ours surely gave Joe and Julynn the same "Really?" look as they flew around the park riding on anything that moved. We actually wanted to thank the Ordyna parents for returning our kids such that there were no complaints when bedtime came.
Again, the kids had a blast. They love their cousins more than life itself. We adults, though, felt like we were running a marathon. Between wrangling kids, fighting impossible crowds, and trying to entertain said kids while standing in endless lines, we had pretty much had it by the end of the week. Needless to say, next year's joint family vacation will involve sand, water, and buckets of sunscreen.
Eden: "Um, I don't have a favorite thing, I liked it all - spending time with our cousins, plus having family time. It was the best vacation ever."
Abby: "It stunk that I wasn't old enough to go on American Idol."
Katie: "Well, um, my favorite part was getting to see our cousins because we NEVER get to. And I liked um, like, um, and I like going to the rides with our cousins, too, because we NEVER EVER EVER have done that. In my life. And that is all I have to say."
Davis: "Um, the space rides. And I got to drive the Jungle Cruise - twice."
Jill: "One night all 12 of us were on Splash Mountain. After the big drop, we saw some of the Electric Light Parade from the boat. It was our last ride of the night, so we all seemed to be living in the moment. Having genuine fun with no thought of what was coming next. It was one of those moments I wish I could have pushed pause (on the imaginary remote control I use to mute my children)."
Kyle: "I have so many memories (some good, and some not so much). A few that stand out as favorites are: sitting around the pool our last night and the adults just hanging out and talking, while the kids swam; hanging out with Katie and Bryn while we tried to find everyone else (specifically when Bryn tried to explain to me that the drinking fountain water tasted like 'poop water' her version of toilet water, which in all fairness really did); watching Ky make Davis feel like the best space pilot ever after all 8 times we road Mission: Space; Davis's pure excitement and joy at driving the Jungle Cruise; getting up every morning to the most amazing sunrises; riding the Tower of Terror with everyone and having nearly all of the kids want to ride with the Dads (Bryn won, which was totally fair...she also has strong grip when she's terrified); and just being together with everyone (Awe). I will not miss the drive, crowds, aching feet or tired children. And I'm totally looking forward to sand, sea sunscreen, and cousins."
As you can see, though, these kids will never forget this treat of a week:
Despite taking 10 hours of video, the kids say, "We don't want to watch that, it makes us sad we aren't with our cousins."
All in all a really great experience!
If you have any great beach locations you'd recommend, leave a comment.