I forgot to mention the major mishap of the trip that occurred last evening: Dan came back from Epcot and prepared to go swimming. He was hungry so he reached for his wallet, only to find that it was not anywhere to be found. We searched the room for a good long while, he retraced his steps, thinking that he remembered it getting off the bus, they called the hotel and reported it missing, but it was nowhere to be found. It included their Disney world tickets, their room keys, their meal plan cards, their ID's (which they needed to board the plane back home) and their credit cards, along with a $300 gift card. Ugh! Disney reissued them their tickets/meals/keys so that was a relief, but the other stuff was nowhere to be found. The next several days were spent looking all over the parks and room and calling various lost and founds trying to locate the missing wallet. We were all sick about it. Poor Dan and Stef. Luckily, they were able to have the gift card cancelled and reissued, their credit cards put on hold and the airline worked with them to avoid needing a picture ID. Whew! They were lucky despite the unlucky circumstances.
What a wonderful day today was!! We got up bright and early this morning to hit the Extra Morning Magic Hours. We had a great surprise when we woke up. "Mickey Mouse" had visited our room while we were sleeping and left a present for Grant and Mason! They opened it up and found Buzz Lightyear. Now I'm not talking about any Buzz Lightyear. I mean the REAL Buzz Lightyear toy that talks, etc. Chris and I had talked before we went and had decided that we didn't want to buy a bunch of stuff in the parks, so we were so excited when Mickey was so thoughtful to bring the souvenirs directly to our rooms - wrapped an everything! :-) It was just like Christmas! The boys were thrilled. Grant's face lit up so preciously when he saw Buzz. He plays with him non-stop! The only problem is, he was for both the boys, but Grant has claimed him as "MINE!" and poor Mason doesn't get to see him too often.
We were instructed to bring the kids to mom and dad's room as soon as they woke up. We weren't supposed to dress them, brush their teeth, or anything - just send them over with their clothes and any thing else that was necessary and they'd be taken care of. When we came to get them to eat breakfast, we found all four kids up on mom and dad's bed with laniards around their necks, sorting out pins for trading, putting little disney characters on their crocs, and very excited for the treasures that they had found in the pirate treasure chest that morning. Pirate Grandma and Pirate Aunt Stefi had may treasures up their sleeves for each day! The kids could hardly wait to see what the treasure was each day, and in fact, they checked the treasure chest multiple times daily to see if something else had appeared!
After waiting a few minutes for the bus, we were on our way. As soon as we reached Disney World, the music started playing, and as we approached, we saw Mickey Mouse and his friends standing at the top of a building, singing a song and welcoming us to Walt Disney World. I stood there with tears in my eyes, as I always do, filled with the excitement and emotion of being at the most magical place on earth. These emotions were merely compounded when Grant, who was so excited to be seeing Mickey Mouse, couldn't control the joy that he felt; his whole body went stiff and his arms and legs were moving about a mile a minute while he shrieked in a high pitched, very excited voice, "There's my Mickey mouse, mommy! MY Mickey MOUSE!!" He just couldn't wait to get inside. Once we did make it inside, we got to see Pinocchio and Pluto right away. We also got to see Mary Poppins. Interestingly, Grant has no fear of these huge, grossly proportioned characters such as Pinocchio or Pluto. They can't talk, they look funny, and they're huge. But he loves them. And strangely, he found ways to communicate. For example, Daisy Duck was flirting with him, and touched her finger to her lip and somehow, Grant understood that she wanted him to kiss her, and he planted a big one right there on her beak! But Mary Poppins, who is a beautiful, normal looking person who can talk, interact, etc, he didn't want anything to do with. You'd think he'd be just fine with Mary Poppins - afterall, she's just like his mother, for goodness sake! ;-)
Incidentally, I was amazed to watch the characters - both human and cartoon in how they portrayed their character. They put themselves into the characters incredibly. The female characters acted so very female, prancing around, swinging their hips as they walked, holding their hands and arms like a princess, etc. Pluto acted like a fun loving dog, Goofy acted just like Goofy and Buzz Lightyear was just as macho as could be! I was really amazed! I found them very believable, and I was thrilled to see them...and I knew that there was a person in there just like you and me. But even I wanted the autograph of Buzz Lightyear and Mary Poppins. Strange to think I could have signed it myself and it be just the same. But somehow, the character becomes real when you see them in costume, and it's thrilling to meet them - ordinary as they are!
We explored Main Street for a while, learned about trading pins and how you should look for the hidden Mickey pins. Evidentally those are the most valuable. Since Grant didn't really care WHICH pins he got, just that he was able to trade, Chris and I had a ball searching for the hidden Mickey pins and helping Grant trade for them. Then we went up to the Dumbo ride and took a spin. Amazingly, we waited longer for the Dumbo ride than we did any other ride that we took the whole trip.Grant was afraid of most everything that we did today. He loved walking around, seeing the buildings, playing with Jaybin and Kinsen, trading pins and seeing the characters, but the shows and rides really scared him. He clung to my neck most of the day saying, "Scary, Mommy! Grant's so scary!" Even It's a Small World was frightening to the poor child. A common phrase that I heard today in a pathetic little voice was, "I just wanna go home, mommy!" I was disappointed in that, because I was so excited for him to see everything and I so badly wanted him to have fun. I told my dad that I had always laughed at those parents who I'd hear pull their kids aside and sternly tell them, "I paid good money for this, now straighten up, be happy and enjoy it!" Seemed kind of like an oxymoron to me as I watched the poor child sulk as he pouted and tried to behave. And yet I found myself doing the very same thing with little Grant. Look, kid, I paid good money for this. You'd better have fun!
Grandpa took all the kids today and bought them charms for the end of their laniards. Grant chose a "Pirate Mickey" charm. Jaybin got the classic disney characters, and Kinsen, of course, picked the disney princess charm. Kinsen had fun trying to find all the disney princess pins for her laniard. She did great!
After lunch, we went to the Buzz Lightyear ride. Grant, of course, was terrified, but as soon as we got done with the ride and went outside, the "real" Buzz was outside greeting visitors. We waited in a short line. When it was Grant's turn, Buzz held out his hand for Grant to give him a high five. Grant ignored the hand, however, and just went in for a great big bear hug. Good thing Buzz has good balance! It was one of my favorite parts of the whole trip - watching Grant meet his hero. Mason was enthralled with Buzz, too, and wouldn't even look at Daddy for a picture. He just kept smiling and waving at Buzz Lightyear!We decided we were going to take the kids back for a nap, because we wanted to stay in the park for the fireworks that evening. So we started to take them back, when mom and dad decided they wanted to go back and rest for a while, so they took them and allowed Chris and I to stay, which was nice. They did get caught at the front gates and got to see the parade, which I was so glad about. The whole time I was watching it, I was wishing Grant could have seen it. Evidentally, mom said as soon as he saw Mickey Mouse, he took off running towards him. Mom had trouble catching him! I wish I could have seen his reaction to it all. They came back around 5:30, and we just enjoyed the Magic Kingdom. We took the kids up to a little playground, showed them Mickey Mouse's house, etc. Grant was crushed that Mickey wasn't there, but found it fascinating that he had Mickey shaped pumpkins. That's all he talked about. It started to downpour shortly thereafter, so we ran to Pinocchio's Pizza place for dinner. It was surprisingly good, and we found a quiet corner where we escaped the deluge. It cleared up rather quickly and we went outside to prepare for the fireworks. The freshly fallen rain made for a beautiful reflection of the lights from the rides and the castle. We got some great pictures! Unfortunately, there was still lightning, so they couldn't do the fireworks afterall. Bummer. And we had the perfect viewing spot, too! So we went home exhausted, planning on returning the following evening for the fireworks. I think we all slept well that night for sure! (I'm including the fireworks pictures on this day - just to keep all the Magic Kingdom Pics together!)