Tuesday had us all heading in different directions. The Schillings and Rileys headed to Blizzard Beach, Mom and Dad went bass fishing - and the Whites escorted their "Princess Whitley" to a royal ball (or at least a character-encounter brunch).
Travis and Steph sent us these images while we were at the waterpark and there was a collective "AHHHHHHH!" when we saw them.
Cinderella had to make sure she had both of her shoes to at least start out with!
With the enthusiasm Whitley had demonstrated for all of the rides, I think Travis and Stephanie were hoping it would carry over to her character encounters. Ehhhh, not so much. From what we were told, it wasn't that she didn't enjoy them, she was just shy and not eager to be next to them without clutching her mom.
But, the food - that was something to be happy about!
What a great image capture by Travis of Cinderella "beholding" Whitley's shoe. They told us that all of the princesses were incredibly sweet with her - and that Cinderella went above and beyond to try to coax Whitley to join her in their "Princess Promenade".
Then, the Whites took off to explore Epcot.
After the "Finding Nemo" ride, they explored the aquarium area.
Manatees - how cool!
Then, this happened. And, Travis and Stephanie spent over an hour cruising the "World Area" of Epcot while she slept. (Practically perfect, as that's not a very kid friendly activity, but something that's worth visiting).
Once she woke up, they hopped over to Magic Kingdom. The "Barnstormer" still held its title as best ride ever.
"Buzz" is always a hit too.
This crew congregated at Blizzard Beach. It's a nice little break because it doesn't actually open until 10am, so there was no reason to wake up at the crack of dawn to be there. When we did arrive, the parking lot was practically empty. Apparently, the fact that there was some clouds and temperatures below 80 scared a lot of people away.
Some great shots of the kids - who, let's just admit, aren't really "kids" anymore. ;(
This guy positioned himself right where we claimed our lounge chairs. I like how the "Ducks" are representing, even at "Blizzard Beach". =)
The kids scattered immediately, (actually leaving Ellie behind....grrrr) - but, that just meant she got to join Michele, John, and myself in the Lazy River. She served as our raft positioner - helping to keep us clear of the areas where the water cascaded down.
I'm a pretty happy camper at this point - and the next few pics were the views from my perspective as we floated down along the "river".
As you can tell from the background, the clouds did start to roll in. This wasn't a big deal, but I'm one of those people that only like to hop into cold water when it's REALLY hot. It wasn't really hot, so with the kids entertaining themselves, I spent some time napping.
The Schillings did a little more participation with their kids - but they also spent some time being cuddly too.
Mostly, the girls spent time going down the slides or in the waves, but there was some pausing to do a little ice cream consumption (a similar pic was taken in 2010).
This guy spent a good chunk of time in the waves...
But, was good enough to give his Mom some love. I'm just gonna throw it out there that this wasn't our Riley family's best day of harmony. We were all dealing with some fatigue, and on vacation, we all kind of have our own self-centered motivations and behaviors. Yup, that was going on.
So, once raindrops started falling, we decided we were done. (We didn't give Mikayla any advanced warning, so she was kind of ticked off too.) The Schillings stayed later, but us Rileys returned to our hotel and got some much needed quality nap time before the return to Magic Kingdom later.
This was happening about an hour from where we were at. Mom and Dad had no interest in participating in the waterpark action, so they made some plans to pursue activities that would fit their interest. Dad had really wanted to do some bass fishing. When he found out that his guided trip cost just as much if he went solo as if he took someone, Mom stepped up to join him.
Get a load of this smile. Dad can't always be counted on to "fake smile" for a picture, but he sure has it in him - this makes me so happy to see!
Mom had a great time too. She doesn't favor the idea of fishing all that much, but this was "catch and release" which helps. They really enjoyed their guide and became fast friends with him.
In fact, they ended up setting up a time to revisit his family later on in the week on another day we were all okay to go different directions.
Around 6:00, the Rileys and Schillings joined up with the Whites at Magic Kingdom. The one time we were able to secure a Fast Pass for "Seven Dwarves Mine Train" was Tuesday night. Unfortunately, because the Whites had their reservable Fast Passes already utilized at Epcot, we were two short for our whole group to go. John and I weren't overwhelmed with the ride, so we passed on our bands (the least we could do given all the bonuses we'd gotten from the White's Ride Swaps) and let them take Whitley again.
However, after seeing this pic, I almost feel bad for encouraging Stephie to go. (She was having a blast - she blames Traig for the expression!)
It was my turn next to sit next to Traig - this time at "Thunder Mountain Railroad".
And, then, "Splash" - again. =)
We reconvened with the Whites at "Buzz". I got to ride with Whitley - I managed to get her a score of 900. That was something! But, then we ended up in jail with "Emperor Zurg".
Back on the "People Mover"...
And, on to "Space Mountain".
We finished off our long evening back at "Splash" and "Thunder Mountain". It was all going down as the fireworks show was happening...
So, this was the view we had at the peak of the coaster.
DAY FIVE PRICELESS MEMORIES:
- That smile on Dad's face. I know this wasn't his first choice for where and how to spend a 10 day vacation (crowds aren't his favorite, and his capability of hearing in such constant noise places is not quality - muchless having recently injured his shoulder to eliminate going on rides....) - so to see this made me feel like he definitely had a day that was spent doing something that truly brought him joy.
- Watching the fireworks from the top of "Thunder Mountain Railroad" seated next to Mikayla. It was one of those - "Can we please freeze this moment?" experiences (as were so many from this trip).