I'm not sure if it was that we all hit our stride today or if Doug and I just planned the day well, but this was one of the best amusement park days I've ever had. It was SO much fun, truly a magical day!
We got up this morning and decided to have the hotel's expensive breakfast buffet. We'd tried to avoid it the last two days with varying results, and Carter didn't really have a good breakfast until this morning. We then headed to the Magic Kingdom, and we stayed until 8:00 pm, much to our surprise!
Carter was well rested and well fed, and Doug and I were both relaxed and happy (and feeling much more patient). We decided to start in the opposite direction as we had the morning before and went to Tomorrowland first. We started out riding the Speedway cars, which Carter loved.
He did a lot better driving this year than last year. He's had a lot of practice with his tractor, though.
After that we headed to Fantasyland and rode the Teacup ride, which Carter had really been looking forward to.
Again, he had a blast! We rode several other Fantasyland rides and generally had a great time. We then made our way over to the steamboat, which he always loves.
We had lunch and then rode a bunch of other stuff. We rode It's a Small World, Snow White, The Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan, and did the Tiki Room. Here Carter is playing with some remote control boats.
We rode the Jungle Cruise, always a favorite.
There is a little playscape by Splash Mountain, and he enjoyed playing there for a while.
Here he is eating an ice cream bar.
And here is the final result.
Yep, pretty messy! You can imagine the looks of the people walking past. Most of them were smiling, though. ;-)
When it started to get dark we decided to get some dinner and then see if Carter was game to stay a little longer. Here he has a blue tongue from a slushie. He thought this picture was hilarious!
He loves the People Movers ride, and we ended up riding that one twice. After that we crossed back over to Frontierland and stopped to look at the beautiful lights on Cinderella's castle.
We rode Pirates of the Caribbean again (Carter knows the song now), and at the end of the ride Carter wanted to buy a pirate toy in the shop. He'd already asked for a spinning light toy, and we had to sit down and have a talk about what single thing he was going to choose. I mentioned that there was a toy monorail in the gift shop that he could get at the end of the night, and his eyes lit up. That was it -- he didn't ask for another thing for the rest of the night. We stopped at the gift shop at the end of the evening and got him a little toy monorail and a few feet of track. He was SO excited! When we got back to the hotel he played with it for a solid hour.
The last thing we did at the park was ride Splash Mountain. We had been trying to ride it for days, but every time our fast pass came up, the ride broke down. It happened again this afternoon, and so at the end of the night we walked past to see if it was running, and it was. So we finally got to ride it. Carter was a little worried about getting wet, but very excited for the big hill. He loved the ride, and it was even better than I remembered. (It's been a decade since I've ridden it, and that one was in California.)
It's really interesting seeing how differently he's responding to the rides this year. He's noticing lots of details that he didn't seem to notice before, and he enjoys different things than I expect. He really likes the animatronic characters and likes the slow-moving rides that take you past them slow enough to see what's going on. I think I wrote yesterday that I have a whole new appreciation now for Disney-type rides (as opposed to the thrill rides of other amusement parks), and it's all because I can see them through Carter's eyes.
Doug and I were talking today about how the fast pass system has completely changed the amusement park experience. When we were younger and spent a lot of time in LA amusement parks, it was not big deal to stand in line 3 hours for a popular ride. It was just what you did if you wanted to ride that ride. Now I can't imagine waiting more than 20 minutes! I'm really glad amusement parks everywhere made that change. The other thing that has changed the amusement park experience is the ride time apps available for phones. A quick glance at my phone told us what the wait times were for all the rides in the park, and we could make decisions about where to go next accordingly. That really helped us plan our days.
When Doug and I were in our 20s and doing all of that amusement park line-waiting, one of the things we did to pass the time was talk and snuggle together in line. We had so many great conversations while waiting in line for roller coasters. And the interesting thing is that we're doing something really similar with Carter. We take turns holding him and playing games with him, and it's a lot of fun.
A game we played a lot these last few days is the "Crazy Rules" game. It's a game I read about on a parenting website, and the idea is to take turns making up crazy rules. The idea is that since kids have so many rules they have to deal with in their lives, they really enjoy making up rules that sound completely ridiculous to blow off some steam from the frustration of having so many rules to deal with. Carter LOVES this game, and we have a lot of fun with it. The rules range from just plain silly ("No eating bananas on the ceiling") to gross ("No drinking pee with a crazy straw") , but we really have a lot of fun with it. It's a very portable game as well, so very handy for waiting in lines.
On the way back to the hotel we asked him what he enjoyed the most about the day. He said, " Riding the parking tram and the monorail, and buying a toy monorail." So yeah, not much has changed since that first trip in some ways! ;-)
Tomorrow is our last day in Orlando, and we've decided to spend it at a more relaxed pace. More pictures and updates to come!