Well, after Alex had returned home from his deployment, we had planned to take a Disney Cruise. After doing a little more research we discovered that since Hudson was under 3 at the time (and not potty trained), Hudson wouldn't really be able to participate in a lot of the fun activities, so we decided to wait until the summer after he had turned 3 (because we were suppose to have 1 more year in San Diego and it was our 10 year wedding anniversary). As you know by now, we ended up moving this past summer instead, arriving at our destination about 4 days before our anniversary after a very long road trip...not exactly what I call a family vacation, maybe a family adventure for sure, but not a vacation.
So, with all of that being said we decided it would be fun to take a trip down to Walt Disney World (since none of us had been) over the Thanksgiving break. We decided to keep it a secret from the kids. We woke up at 4:30 in the morning the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and got ready real quick and then got the kids out of bed and told them we were going on vacation. We still didn't tell them where we were going. We simply got in the car and drove....and drove....and drove. It was pouring on this particular Tuesday, so what was suppose to be a 12 hour drive turned into about a 17 hour drive, BUT we made it!
I had been anticipating the kids' reactions all day long. We had heard that there was a big arch that you'd see as you drove up that said, "Welcome to Walt Disney World." So as we got closer, Alex and I could see the sign, but our poor kids had already passed out...I mean it was almost 10pm at this point. I felt horrible, our kids were excited all day in anticipation of finding out where we were going, they put up with the horrible rain that dumped buckets on us and then they missed the great "reveal."
Once we were all checked into our room, the kids sort of figured out what we were doing, but it wasn't until they woke up the next morning that it really set in where we were and what we were going to be doing. We were going to be spending four days at Walt Disney World!!! I don't know who was more excited!?!?
We spent a good 10 minutes talking to Mike and Sully. They were great! The kids were over-joyed to see these two.
So, on Day 1, we headed to Hollywood Studios (which is sort of like California Adventure, for all of my California friends). We had a blast. Hudson was finally tall enough to ride on all of the rides with the 40" height requirement. We hung out with Mike and Sully, we rode Star Tours, we went on the Toy Story Ride along with a few others and then that evening we happened across the Osborne Family Lights (we had no idea they were even there). Oh my, it was beautiful! Not to be all cheesy, but while we were in the middle of the street that was filled with more lights than you could possibly imagine, we had hot chocolate in hand, and Christmas music was playing and tears welled up in my eyes. It was perfect.
On Day 2, Thanksgiving, surprise 2 happened. We hadn't told the kids yet that we were meeting Auntie Emma, Uncle Jordan and their cousins Mason and Hope at Magic Kingdom! What a magical morning that was (I mean the whole day was amazing, but seeing the Caro Family after far too long and seeing the looks on all of our kids faces was priceless).
|Probably the best picture we've ever had of all of us, plus this is the first time Hope has been in a picture with all of us :)|
|We actually were able to go on a ride (Big Thunder) by ourselves! It was so much fun and one of my fondest memories!|
We wandered all over Magic Kingdom going on rides, taking pictures, enjoying yummy food, watching parades, waiting for the Frozen Lighting of the Cinderella Castle Show, and so much more. It was perfect! (and on a side note Cinderella's Castle is so breathtaking....Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland is sentimental, but Cinderella's Castle...WOW)!!!
On Day 3, we went back to Hollywood Studios with the Emma and Jordan and the kids. It was another day filled with watching the magic unfold through the eyes of our children. I will forever remember listening to Hudson and Mason talk about Star Tours after they rode it together. Both of the boys (and Madison too) are really loving Star Wars right now...Alex is a tad giddy about that! :)
|It was very sweet, we often found the big kids walking like this.|
|Madison was captivated by her Uncle and I was so thankful to capture this sweet moment shared between them.|
|Our traditional picture every time we get together.|
On Day 4, we started the morning at the restaurant inside of the Wilderness Lodge. Oh my goodness, the food was AMAZING!!!! Emma and Jordan had suggested it and well, since they are veteran Walt Disney World Property gooroos, we listened and boy are we glad we did! Man, not only was the food amazing, the resort was gorgeous and the waitress we had was hilarious. If you ever go there, just remember to ask them for ketchup! ;)
|The kids' breakfast...too cute!|
|One last group photo before we say "until next time"|
Day 4 also came with the bitterness of having to say good-bye to Emma and Jordan as they were not visiting any of the parks that day and we still and one more ticket in our park hopper package to use up. So, we hugged, cried, laughed and hugged again and said "until next time" even though we don't know when that next time will be at the moment due to the Marine Corps not having told us where we're going to be moving to next, but we will be making every effort to see them sooner rather than later because let's face it...we need more Caro Time in our lives. :)
Anyway, we finished up our fourth day back at Magic Kingdom and felt like we really did everything that we had left on our "to do" list, including going on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride (after a 90 minute wait) and the infamous Peter Pan Ride (which poor Hudson slept through and still asks why we didn't go on it). We even were able to get fast passes for the Electrical Parade which gave us phenomenal seats and I got to see DOPEY (one of the only times you'll even see him inside of the park)!!!!
|Our poor little Hudson sleeping through Peter Pan.|
This was an amazing family trip that created life long memories. We are so thankful that God blessed us with the ability to spend time together enjoying each other in this stage of life as well as to spend time with our amazing friends to finally getting to meet our niece, Hope. This was a trip that won't soon be forgotten.