#NoahsDisneyBirthday {Day 4}

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If you want to read about Days 1-3, start with {Day 1} and click the links at the bottom of each Disney post to continue the saga 🙂

Monday was Day 4 of our Disney trip. MaMarsh and Granddaddy Jer left that morning to return to TN. Meema and PawPaw met us at Animal Kingdom. Monday was Extra Magic Hours day there and we were hoping to get there in time to ride the Kilimanjaro Safari before it got too crowded. Unfortunately, even though we skipped breakfast to make it to the park on time, it still took awhile to get through bag check (guess who got randomly selected for additional screening– me!) and the wait time for the safari was already 40 minutes by 9 am. Our first FastPass started at 9am today, in the opposite direction of the safari, so we decided to skip the safari. I was bummed about that because I know the twins would have loved seeing all the animals. I’ll make it up to them at the zoo this week 🙂

First, we rode Dinosaur. We were in the very front row of our “jeep” and Noah was scared, so much so that he did not want to use the Rider Switch to ride it again with PawPaw. It took a long conversation to convince Noah that the ride was not real and that those were not real dinosaurs that we were riding past. Bless his sweet little heart. We had time before our next FP ride to visit Safari Mickey and Minnie. The wait was only supposed to be 20 minutes, but felt much longer. The twins were not happy about waiting in line and Eli was getting hangry about postponing breakfast. We had bought muffins for them but couldn’t bring them in where the line was, so I snuck them pretzels from my purse. My motto: whatever means necessary to prevent full-on toddler meltdowns! We bought several of those Mickey take-along packs during our stay– the one sold at all the gift shops that had Mickey-shaped Goldfish, pretzels and gummy bears. I also brought those fruit/veggie pouches for them to have each day when we needed a little snack or pre-meal appetizer.

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Eli gave hugs to both Mickey and Minnie, which was super precious, and we managed to get a decent full-family shot with them! We remembered  to bring Noah’s autograph book to this visit as well so Noah got Mickey and Minnie’s signature here. He got multiple Mickey and Minnie signatures over our last couple days, haha. The “Outpost” that we met Mickey and Minnie must have also been a break room for other characters because we saw Baloo and King Louie walking past, to the back of the building, while we were loading back into the stroller!

Our favorite Animal Kingdom ride came next- Expedition Everest. It was awesome! I love rides that go forwards and backwards!! Tommy and I rode with Noah first. Then, because it was pretty smooth and less likely to hurt Meema’s back, Noah got to ride with Meema and PawPaw next. It was the only thrill ride that Meema rode with us. Rides with sudden, jerky movements are too rough for her back, post several back surgeries. Noah was so excited to be able to ride the ride with her! Having Meema and PawPaw there with us meant so much to us, but I know that the miles and miles of walking each day was challenging for them. I need to purchase our PhotoPass photos just for the action shot of the three on them on the Everest ride because it. was. hilarious. When I do, I am totally adding it to the blog. Until then, you get this cute photo of PawPaw pushing the stroller…IMG_3086

The Safari line was still too long and we had time to kill before our last Fast Pass, so we went back to the Dinoland part of the park and took the twins on the spinning dinosaur ride. Noah did not want to ride with us — solely because he knew that Meema and PawPaw would spoil him and let him play the nearby dinosaur arcade games while they waited for us to ride. A “couple” of arcade games turned into Daddy and Noah both playing… and us lugging SIX, cheap arcade stuffed animals around two parks.

Next, we rode Primeval Whirl. Don’t ride that if you have eaten anything recently– Thankfully, we didn’t have lunch until after or I probably would have been sick! We got the Rider Switch for it and Noah convinced PawPaw to ride it with him and Tommy the second time. I think PawPaw may hate us a little bit for not warning him about the dips and spins!

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Before lunch, Noah decided that he did, in fact, want to ride Dinosaur again (safely tucked between Mom and Dad this time!) After lunch, since we had used all our Animal Kingdom Fast Passes and the Safari was a no go, we decided to make our way to Epcot. Our plan was to sign up for FastPasses at Epcot as soon as we got there, but we hit a couple speed bumps. When we got to the FP Kiosk at Epcot, they said there was an error with our FastPasses and that we needed to go to Guest Relations to fix it. Since Spaceship Earth had a short line and was something everyone could ride (inside the Epcot ball,) we decided we would ride that before sorting out the FP issue. Noah taught Meema some very complicated version of Pattycake while we waited in line. Eli had to be held in line so that he wouldn’t run away, so he got some shoulder time with Daddy 🙂

The Guest Relations simple fix was not so simple. I went to Guest Relations and “sorted out” our FP issue. Supposedly, it was because the computer was recognizing us as still being at Animal Kingdom and did not want us to sign up for a FP ride at Epcot. (Once you do your first three, you can only sign up for one ride at a time after that– no matter which park you are in.) Once it was “fixed,” we went back to the FP Kiosk and it STILL showed an error, so the FP supervisor went WITH us to Guest Relations to figure out what the deal was. They overrode the computer system to fix it, set up a FastPass for us for Test Track, added a complimentary Fast Pass for any ride we wanted to our Disney app, gave us a paper complimentary Fast Pass ticket for whatever we wanted to ride… AND gave us 7 (one for each member in our party, including the twins, Meema and PawPaw) Fast Pass tickets for a specific group of Epcot rides. The supervisor also let Noah pick one thing, whatever he wanted, from this long list of incentives– free ice cream, fast pass to meet Mickey & Minnie in Epcot… it was a list of about 8 great kid things. He picked free frozen lemonade. Turns out, there is only one kiosk that sells frozen lemonade at Epcot and it was closed that day. You better believe he didn’t let us forget at Magic Kingdom the next day that he was PROMISED some frozen lemonade!! It was super nice of Disney to fix the issues so well, but we did run out of time to actually use all those incentives.

Noah loved Test Track. In his words, it was the “best ride ever.” PawPaw, Tommy and Noah went on it first. Meema and I stayed with the twins and entertained them for a long time with the sample Test Track car outside the ride. The ride is a very drawn out process, so it took forever for the boys to get back. Noah loved it and immediately wanted to go with me on the ride the second time (I really can’t say enough great things about Rider Switch Passes!) Tommy, Meema and PawPaw took the babies to a play area near the ride while Noah and I had our turn. IMG_3169Who says they are too little to ride Test Track?! 😉

After Test Track, we said goodbye to Meema and PawPaw and headed to Character Epcot to use a free Fast Pass to meet Mickey, Minnie and Goofy. We would have used in for Soarin’ but it was closed while we were there. Baymax from Big Hero 6 and Joy & Sadness from Inside Out were also at the Epcot character spot but the lines were long and they did not have the fast pass option. Noah settled for me creepily taking pictures of the characters in between other families visiting with them, haha. “Mom, just take a picture of Baymax by himself.”

I think the point of going to Disney is to see how many times you can get the autograph of the same characters (kidding.) We really racked up Mickey and Minnie autographs and photos, but they were the twins’ favorite part of Disney World. Emry Jane’s kiss on Minnie Mouse’s nose alone is worth one hundred lines and visits to the same characters. The boys’ reactions to meeting them were adorable too. At Epcot, you meet Mickey, then move over to Minnie, then Goofy— and my kids SPRINTED to meet the next character in line. The people trying to take pictures for us, with my phone and the professional camera, were struggling to keep up with us!

We had dinner reservations at 7pm at the french restaurant, Les Chefs de France, because my husband loves me and knows that I love France and french food. He made that reservation all on his own. Dinner was awesome, but it took a long time. We did not have time after dinner to do any rides before the fireworks started at 9; however, the waiters at Les Chefs sang to Noah in French and brought him sorbet with a candle for his birthday. Also, we discovered that Eli is quite the little artist with crayons and a kids menu! Emry Jane was not as interested in coloring– she just wanted a big fork to use like Mom and Dad!

Because of the earlier Fast Pass snafu, the supervisor had told her that her good friend was the supervisor for the fireworks at 9pm. If we wanted, she was going to give him our name and we could go to the Fast Pass area and watch the fireworks from there. We weren’t sure that we would last until the 9pm fireworks, but we really did not have to wait long by the time we were finished with dinner. Our Fast Pass “ticket for anything” wasn’t supposed to work for the fireworks, according to the bouncer at the fireworks FP entrance. We got in when the supervisor realized who we were (he had our name on a piece of paper from the FP supervisor– very VIP.) The kids made friends with some ducks while we waited for the Fireworks to start. The fireworks were great– very bright with good music. The twins and Noah really seemed to enjoy them. After fireworks, we made our way to the room to pack everything for check out before Chef Mickey’s the next morning.

Noah, Emry Jane & Mommy enjoying the fireworks… and walking past the ball on the way back to Art of Animation 🙂

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