A Travellerspoint blog

Antonio's 5th Birthday Extravaganza! Part 5

Cruise Day 1

We got up at 5:30 AM to start getting ready for the drive to Miami. It sure would have been nice if it was leaving from Port Canaveral, but the price was definitely right for the cruise leaving out of Miami!

Antonio was up and ready to cruise!

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I was wanting to leave by 7, but we didn’t quite get out of there on time. Quentin wanted to eat the leftover Giordanos for breakfast so we took it down to the food court area and found a microwave. Finally, we got going!

The drive down was uneventful, except for the horrendous tolls! At one point we paid a toll that was $15.40! I think overall we paid like $20 in tolls.

We stopped at a rest area and Antonio’s happy face was on green so he got a prize!

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Getting closer!

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Woo hoo!!!

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We drove all the way to where the ships were hoping to find a liquor store right by the boats. No go. We had to turn back around to find a place to buy our wine. On Carnival you can carry on one bottle of wine per adult. You can also carry on bottled water and soda. We took all the rest of the waters we had from Disney. I think it was like 12 bottles.

A few pics of Miami. There was a lot of singing of “Welcome to Miami, Bienvenidos a Miami” a la Will Smith.

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Found a place to buy wine!

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With wine in hand we went back to the port. Prior to the trip I had searched for a cheaper place to park the car than at the actual port. Unfortunately all of the other places had pretty terrible reviews. They said there were homeless people around the cars or reports of break ins. We decided we would just eat the crazy expensive port parking cost so that we would have peace of mind. Quentin dropped us off up front by the porters. This part is always stressful to me. They want to just start grabbing your luggage the second it is out of your car. I want a moment to get everything together and make sure we have it all. Luckily, we didn’t forget anything. Quentin went and parked the car and met us by the entrance.

Peekaboo!

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They had water and lemonade outside which was really nice.

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Loved these signs!

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Antonio’s stroller was packed down with carry on things that we needed. He kept getting up and the whole stroller would flip over and spill everything! He was killing me! I had to make some threats against his life to get him to stay seated! We didn’t take a stroller on the last cruise, but we decided to bring one this time since we were planning to do a lot of walking in each port. I was really glad we brought it.

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We were through check in and security in no time flat. I think from the time we got to the port to the time we were in our room was about 1 hour.

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Our room was ready as soon as we got on! Well, it wasn’t exactly ready because the room stewards were still doing some tidying, but they let us go on in.

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I love love loved our aft balcony! An aft balcony is on the very back of the ship and is extended so it is much larger than a regular balcony. The only drawback is that it’s not very private because of the way it is shaped. You can see right on to the balconies next to you and below. The balconies above can see right down on to yours as well.

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I loved the our balcony not only had two chairs and a table, but also a lounger!

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Antonio is learning from his Mama to go around and take pics when you first get in the room. Here are some of his pictures. He cracks me up!

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After exploring our room, we decided to get out of there and let the room stewards finish up. We went to have lunch. We had read online about the fish and chips place that was located upstairs from the buffet. It was not crowded at all up there. That was about the only good thing about it. We didn’t like the food at all.

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Antonio was excited to be back to a cruise and have his meat and cheese cubes for lunch! He ate this pretty much every day on our spring break cruise.

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After we ate we went back to the room to change in to swimsuits. We had carried on everything we would need to swim. That way we could go right away and not have to wait for our luggage to be delivered.

When we got back to our room, the room steward had finished up and our returning cruiser gifts were there! I got my pin for becoming a Golf VIFP member!

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The room was also decorated for Antonio’s birthday!

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This thing was a badge that would stick to your shirt multiple times. Very cool!

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Then it was off to the pool!
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I felt like I was the children’s activity director while at the pool. I was throwing Antonio the floaty thing from my underwater camera and all the other kids were playing too. It was a lot of fun.

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One of the kids Antonio met while playing with my camera floaty was this boy.

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They asked if they could go to the hot tub and I went with them.

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Those two were having so much fun together! I got out and talked to his mom and she was super nice. They turned out to be super awesome cruise peeps! Naomi and Jason and their son Noah made our cruise so much more fun!

We knew it would be time for the lifeboat drill soon, so we went back to the room to change.

Posted by MarathonMama629 09:02 Comments (1)

Antonio's 5th Birthday Extravaganza! Part 4

Star Wars Weekends!

We got up bright and early to head to Hollywood Studios. Today would be the highlight of Quentin’s trip….Star Wars Weekends! I had read online that Hollywood Studios unofficially opens its gates around 30 minutes before the advertised park opening, so I wanted to get there an hour early.

I really missed having my Dad and his super handy handicap placard because as early as we were we still had to park pretty far away. Far enough that we took the tram to the entrance. Antonio loves riding the “train.”

I thought Quentin was working on business, but he was texting me the parking lot name and row that we were in. Smart man!

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We found our way to the front of a turnstile. I’ll never understand why people just pick a long line and get in. If you look around, there is probably a turnstile with no line! Like clockwork, they let us through the gates 30 minutes early. This is where things went wrong!

I scanned my magic band, which worked just fine at Blizzard Beach yesterday, but it wouldn’t recognize my fingerprint scan. I tried again. No luck. They called a cast member over to check it out. The whole process seemed to me that it was taking about an hour, in reality it was probably 4 or 5 minutes for them to reset it, but probably four or five hundred people got in front of us because of it. When we finally got that issue resolved, we headed up the street to where they had a blockade for the Star Wars opening show!

Star Wars time!

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Antonio couldn’t see, so I put him on my shoulders. He is definitely getting heavier each year!

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Quentin was so excited! Star Wars Weekend has been on his bucket list. I’d never even seen Star Wars till we met!

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After the show, we did the Toy Story stampede! We got there with the front of the crowd despite being held up due to the magic band. Now that there are no regular fastpasses, I knew we had to get there first thing. I was unable to get a Fastpass+ before the trip.
Look at those lashes!

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Mommy wins!

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After Toy Story I thought Antonio would like to meet Buzz Lightyear and Woody, but he wasn’t interested. Instead we headed over to Darth’s Mall. Kid tip: No strollers allowed in there.

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I spotted this cute hidden Mickey on the way in!

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We sent Quentin to look around at the Star Wars Weekend merchandise while Antonio and I got in line for Jedi Mickey and Leia Minnie. Unfortunately, they left right as we got to the front of the line! Oh well, we got Darth Goofy and Stromtrooper Donald instead.

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We all looked around a bit more. Luckily Quentin didn’t find anything he couldn’t live without. He needed to save his money for the cruise!

Lego Darth Vader!

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You could buy drinks over here and Antonio wanted one so bad. They were too expensive for my taste, even if they come in a cool cup! This robot thing moved too.

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My mom would have had to have a cupcake if she was there!

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Darth Mickey Quentin using the force.

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Darth Mickey Antonio

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Slave Krista

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We didn’t have a real specific game plan for today other than riding Toy Story and seeing the Star Wars parade so we wandered around a bit.

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Quentin really wanted to go on the backlot tour. I really didn’t want to waste good morning park touring time on it. It had been closed the last time he was there, so I figured we better just go. As a recovering park touring nazi it was hard for me to let the plans go.

Tool Time! I loved Home Improvement as a kid!

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I hope he’s happy! Grains of sand Quentin, grains of sand! (TGM people will get that!)

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Some sights from the ride…

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Time for the big show!

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I think Quentin said these are Star Wars thingies. Like my technical terms?

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Antonio pointed out this Frozen sign on the other side of a car way ahead of us! The kid is obsessed with Elsa! I don’t even know how he saw this. It was even upside down from his view!

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After the ride, a CM sang Antonio happy birthday backwards! Anyone who has been to Disney should know that trick. Then we looked around the museum area a bit.

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We had some time to kill before our FP+ was ready for Star Tours.

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Star Tours was our first ever FP+. You scan your magic band as you enter and the little Mickey head turns green. Worked out great and the wait was practically nothing.

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Quentin was very excited for the Star Wars parade, so we headed over to get seats about an hour early. On the way over we saw a bit of a show going on at the Sorcerer’s hat.

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Quentin found a spot in a relatively shady area and decided he would hold the spot while we went and looked around. He met a nice girl who was in the Disney College Program and passed the time talking to her.

I took Antonio to a store and bought him a Star Wars gun, then we went to the Art of Animation building.

He stood by ready to protect us while we waited in line to meet Minnie Mouse.

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Cute sign I saw while in line.

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The photopass photographers got some great shots!

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Next, we got in line for Wreck It Ralph. I love the theme in the waiting area.

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They have their hands up because of Antonio’s gun.

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Sorcerer Mickey was about to arrive so we got in line for that next. Antonio calls him “Magic Mickey.”

Silly boy in line.

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Magic Mickey!

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Talking to Antonio about being 5 years old. Poor Mickey only has 4 fingers!

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Then we played with the coloring machines a bit.

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We decided we better head back over to Quentin before we miss the parade, but first a photopass pic!

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We picked up a Darth Vader popcorn bucket on our way to the parade. I was glad Quentin had saved us seats because it was a madhouse at this point! We even saw some people get in an argument over some space across the street.

Parade time!

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You can sign up in the morning to have your kid walk in the parade as a Jedi in Training. Antonio wasn’t interested in that or in the Jedi Training Academy.

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There are tons of Star Wars fans that walk in the parade. Quentin was in nerd heaven! LOL!

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I love Ewoks!

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Back to Disney performers.

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There are also some stars in the parade. Several were voice actors from the Clone Wars series. Some were actual Star Wars actors.

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Bringing up the end!

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Before the parade we had stopped by Sci-Fi Dine in Theater to check on availability for their special Star Wars meal. They had space, but we were afraid it would cut in to our parade watching time, so we passed. We had time to do one more thing before lunch and Quentin wanted to do Indiana Jones so off we went. I thought it was pretty much just as boring as usual, however Quentin enjoyed it. Afterwards, I was ready for some lunch and a nap! It was hot! We discussed Quentin staying and enjoying the Star Wars stuff and Antonio and I leaving to eat lunch and nap. Quentin decided to leave for lunch and then we would drop him back off while we went back to the hotel.

Of course we got a few photopass pics on our way out, starring the Darth Vader popcorn bucket and Antonio’s lightsaber keychain!

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We went to my favorite off property restaurant, Chevy’s!

Antonio had the chicken strips.

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Quentin and I shared fajitas.

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And a pitcher of mango margaritas!

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The kids meal comes with an ice cream cone.

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Q and I got fried ice cream to share.

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Overall, I was disappointed. They had changed the menu and it was much more expensive. There was no longer a lunch menu. I’ll go back, but won’t make it a priority like I used to.

After sweating all morning and a pitcher of margaritas, Quentin decided to join us at the hotel for a nap. He was worried about missing Star Wars weekend festivities, but I told him that if he was planning to for us to have a future together, he needed to know one thing…we will always be back to Disney World!

I got a few pics of our hotel when we went back for our break.

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After a nice cool nap, we headed back to Hollywood Studios. First up was Muppetvision 3D. Such a cute show!

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I had made Quentin a FP+ reservation for Rock N Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. He went off to do those, while Antonio and I wandered around. We ran in to some Star Wars characters. The interesting thing was, they don’t do official meet and greets. There was no line or order to it at all. They just kind of went around staring at people in a spooky way! It was so fun!

If you were lucky you could get an autograph.

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I got her to stop for a selfie!

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This girl stopped to talk to Antonio. She asked him if he was going to be part of the Dark Side. When he said no, she said “Too bad” and walked off.

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Antonio and I also went to Voyage of the Little Mermaid. He loved the bubbles. Afterwards, I got him all fixed up with the glow bracelets Tinkerbell brought him. Kid tip: Buy little toys from Dollar Tree and if the kiddos are good, “Tinkerbell” leaves presents in the hotel room!

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Quentin got done with his thrill rides and we all got a spot to watch the Star Wars fireworks. They were amazing!!!

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Then we headed over to Fantasmic. Another thing that FP+ has messed up. Although we were there early, we weren’t allowed in. All the FP+ people got to enter first. Then to make it even worse they had stroller parking in a really stupid place! The line for non FP+ guests was to the right in kind of a corralled area. The stroller parking was to the left, way to the front of that line. So we took our stroller all the way up, then they told us to go back to the end of the line. However, now a ton of people were in that line, and we would have to get behind everyone who we were ahead of. Nice planning Disney! Luckily another family was over there and we told the CM we weren’t happy. He undid the rope and let us all in towards the front of the line. I hope they figure out a better system for this.

When the herd of non FP+ users gets to go in, you only get to sit in the section on the far right. The rest if for FP+ apparently. We decided to take the seats in the very front row because I wanted to try to get some good pictures. I still didn’t get very good pics though!

Of course Antonio had to have a light up toy.

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A few pics from our close seats.

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After the show we left the park with the masses. I hate being in these giant crowds! I’m afraid Antonio will get trampled. We were able to find the stroller pretty easily and that was nice.

Right by the entrance was a Cast Member painting with water. Can you tell what he’s making?

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When we got back to the room, I stayed up doing some packing. We had to hit the road for Miami in the morning! It was cruise time!

Posted by MarathonMama629 11:01 Comments (1)

Antonio's 5th Birthday Extravaganza! Part 3

Day 1

We totally lucked out and our room was ready even though it was only 10 am! I had gotten a great rate at this hotel with my travel agent discount. I would highly recommend staying at Holiday Inn Orlando SW- Celebration Area. It was very nice, close to Disney, and a great price!

Antonio loved the bunk beds!

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There was a wall separating the bunk bed area from the other bed.

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The sink was outside of the bathroom which is always nice for getting ready.

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The bunk bed area had a tv as well. There was also a fridge which turned out to be very handy. The only problem is the freezer part didn’t work well, but we were fine without it.

We changed in to our swimsuits then went next door to the McDonalds to eat.

Headed out. He loves to do the elevator buttons!

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It had a nice playplace with a climbing area and computers. Does McDonalds really need computers for the kids to play with??? Don’t kids get enough electronic exposure without playing on computers at McDonalds too?!

Playplace!

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After we ate we told Antonio we were going swimming. Up to this point, he just thought we were going on a cruise. Usually we go to Disney World every year for his birthday so he had been a little sad that we weren’t going. Here’s a video of him figuring out where we were really going.

Click the video to play.

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The kid was so obsessed with his trip binder he would get it out even when we were driving for 5 minutes.

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Our tickets were all at will call and we had a few minutes of worry that we wouldn’t be able to pick them up at Blizzard Beach, but it worked out just fine. We got our tickets and headed in. Quentin had forgotten to bring his water shoes so first thing we did was go to the store so he could purchase some. Walking barefoot on the cement in Florida is a surefire way to burn your feet! While at the store we asked for a birthday tattoo for Antonio. The CM told Antonio she had a phone call for him.

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It was Goofy wishing him a happy birthday! He loved it! We took the free birthday tattoo over to the paid tattoo area and they applied it for him. He got so much attention over this tattoo! Every single CM at Blizzard Beach would tell him Happy Birthday! If they didn’t, Antonio would not so casually lift his arm so they would see it and wish him a Happy Birthday. It was hilarious!

We had brought the stroller in to store our stuff. We parked it in the kiddie area. Quentin and I were pretty much exhausted by now after driving 24 hours straight. Antonio was wide awake since he had slept all night. I had decided before the trip that the best way to wear Antonio out was to swim. Quentin and I relaxed on tubes while Antonio took turns riding and swimming his way through the lazy river.

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His birthday tattoo.

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Quentin keeping the bright sun off of his poor bald head!

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Antonio and I used the tubes to block the water from the waterfalls. The kiddie tubes are solid with no hole so little ones won’t fall through. Good thinking Disney!

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He sure enjoyed these goggles for the one day we had them. We lost them in the wave pool. Oops!

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Antonio talks about this part of the lazy river all the time at home. Click to watch the video.

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After a couple loops around the lazy river we took the chair lift to the top of the park.

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We rode down on the family raft ride. It’s always super fun! It’s a long ride and didn’t have a long wait at all.

We got a couple photopass pictures after the ride.

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Quentin headed back up to the top to do Summit Plummet. Photopass photographers got some great pics!

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In the meantime, Antonio and I went to Tike’s Peak, the kiddie area.

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Antonio had a blast doing the tube ride we had talked about in the video above. His Papa had taken him on this over and over last year.

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Here’s a video of him on the kiddie tube ride.

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After we found Quentin, we went to get a drink of water and these nice girls gave Antonio a free chocolate chip cookie for his birthday!

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Back to the lazy river! Watch out for the waterfalls.

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We spent some time in the wave pool. (Where I accidentally dropped the googles!)

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Then we all rode the snow stormers and toboggan racers.

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Back to the family raft ride!

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And of course, more photopass pictures.

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After the ride, we saw this delicious looking thing on the menu! Did you say bacon brownie sundae? Yes please!

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Here it is! Next to it is the free ice cream they gave Antonio because of his birthday tattoo! They really spoiled him at Blizzard Beach!

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By now, we had sufficiently wore the little one out and decided to head back to the hotel in hopes of going to bed early.

Bye Blizzard Beach!

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This is where we made a huge mistake. We decided to get Giordano’s Pizza for dinner, but we didn’t order it till we got back to the hotel. We should have ordered it before we even left. Quentin ended up going to get it because delivery was going to take forever! It was delicious!

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Off to bed! We had a big day planned for tomorrow, Star Wars Weekends!

Posted by MarathonMama629 09:38 Comments (2)

Antonio's 5th Birthday Extravaganza! Part 2

Travel Day!

I was pretty nervous about the idea of driving 24 hours straight. We had recently driven straight home from New Orleans after our spring break cruise and it went pretty well. However it was only a 13 hour drive. We were practically doubling that. I spent a lot of time preparing activities for Antonio to do in the car. Thank you Pinterest for many of the ideas!

I made a road trip binder that was full of activities.

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It also had a journal that Antonio would fill out during the trip.

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I made him a map of our route to Florida as well. It started with Wichita, KS and ended in Orlando, FL. It had all of the major cities we would go through as well as each border we would cross. I used ribbon pinned to the backseat ceiling for the route. I traced each state on construction paper and cut them out. I made a car that he could move along by cutting out a Lightning McQueen out of an old book of his and hot gluing it to a clothespin. This turned out to be a great idea because he could tell how much farther we had to go.

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I also made a happy and sad face with construction paper that I glued to a clothespin. I used this to help Antonio track his behavior. If he was whining, it flipped to the sad face and if he was good, it flipped to the happy face. When we would get to a rest stop, he would get a little treat if it was on a happy face. He loved this! He would get a candy or a small toy. Only one time it was on a sad face when we stopped. That’s saying a lot for a 24 hour drive!

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I also cut out strips of construction paper and wrote different activities on them. When he was getting restless, we would fan out the strips and he could pick one. Then he had to work on the activity that was drawn. This kept him well entertained!

Finally the day was here! It was time to hit the road! Antonio and I loaded up the car and went to pick up Quentin.

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On our trip to New Orleans I had used Antonio’s Britax Boulevard carseat because of the 5 point harness. The problem we encountered was his legs got very uncomfortable. He wanted to criss cross applesauce his legs and was unable to. This resulted in a lot of fussing. He regularly sits in the booster shown in the picture. A few weeks before this trip, he fell asleep in the car in this booster sit and was able to criss cross applesauce! I decided we would definitely be bringing this car seat instead of the bigger one. It worked out great because his lap tray from home fit nicely on top of the booster. I also put a case of bottle water under his feet so he could rest his feet on it and they wouldn’t always be dangling. The red and white polka dot thing in the picture is a trashcan I got from a craft fair a year ago. It was great for him to have his own trashcan on this trip!

We picked Quentin up and went to his daily breakfast with his father and brother, then we hit the road at 11 am.

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Let’s go!

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Quentin owns a limo company so he worked the first several hours of the trip. The man never stops working!

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Antonio got started on his activities right away!

iPad time

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Fruit Loop bracelets.

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Scavenger hunt. (These would have been a lot of easier if he could read!)

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Time to watch Frozen! (He probably watched Frozen 50 times on this trip!)

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Antonio loves lunchables, but I don’t love the price. I wanted something quick and easy to eat while on the road, so I made homemade lunchables. I got a pack of Oscar Mayer turkey and cut it into Mickey shapes. I also bought the Mickey shape cheese. Add that to a roll of ritz crackers and you have homemade lunchables! This is what we had for dinner along with other snacks in the car. No stopping for us! We need to get to Florida!

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This activity was a great one! I got these letters made with circles off Pinterest and bought garage sale stickers from Dollar Tree. He spent forever sticking stickers to the letters!

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Antonio looks goofy in the picture, but you can see, Lightning McQueen is all the way to Little Rock, AK!

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A matching activity while going through Memphis, TN! (Thank you Facebook for keeping track of where I was!)

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I really wanted to have Antonio take pics by the state signs like my parents did when we were little, but it was always raining! Boo!

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Made it to Mississippi!

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Old school car bingo like I had as a kid! Also playing the license plate game!

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As we got to Alabama, Antonio passed out.

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This is where things got really difficult. Antonio would sleep for about an hour, then wake up agitated that he wasn’t comfortable. We had to stop several times so I could get him back in control. I think he was just really confused each time he woke up and realized he wasn’t in bed. Somehow we made it through the night though! Quentin and I would switch off every few hours and sleep while not driving.

Somewhere around Georgia, I stopped and got this little friend to help me make it through the night.

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Finally, we made it to Florida! Look how happy he is!

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And look how sleepy he is!

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Another Road Trip Bingo!

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Quentin was asleep when I saw a Florida welcome center. I decided Antonio and I needed to get out and look around. It said there were live baby gators! I’m all about tourist traps!

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I wanted to die when Antonio put his stuffy on the gross bathroom sink at the rest stop! This is one of the toys he got for being on the happy face at a rest stop earlier in the trip. This trip should be nicknamed “The Trip of the Stuffies!” Antonio got a ton of them. That boy loves his stuffed animals!

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Where are the baby gators?!!?

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Very underwhelming when we finally found them.

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Back in the car for the home stretch. This may have been the best activity I brought. He had to cut out dominoes and match them up to numbers. Cutting and taping took him forever!

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Only one more stop on Antonio’s map!

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Beaded bracelets were much cleaner than the fruit loop bracelets. I recommend these!

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Exactly 24 hours after leaving Wichita, we arrived at Holiday Inn Orlando SW - Celebration Area. Quentin and Antonio waited in the car while I went in to check-in. I was hoping beyond all hopes that our room would be ready. I wanted to shower and brush my teeth! 24 hours on the road has a way of making you feel disgusting!!

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Posted by MarathonMama629 10:03 Tagged road_trip cruise carnival disney Comments (3)

Antonio's 5th Birthday Extravaganza!

Introduction

This is my first post on Travellerspoint.com, so I'm testing it out to see if I like it. I've taken Antonio to Disney World for his birthday every year since he was born. This year would be no exception! When I was planning the trip, I got an email from Carnival with last minute travel agent rates. We could take a 7 night cruise out of Miami for crazy cheap! The wheels in my brain started turning and I figured out that if we drove down, we could save enough money on flights and be able to do Disney and the cruise! I got Quentin (my boyfriend) on board and booked!

The plan....

Drive from Wichita, KS to Orlando, FL. No stops. Drive straight through and be done in 24 hours.
Spend two days at Disney in an off property hotel (At the time I could only get one travel agent rate per calendar year. Of course they changed that now!)
Drive to Miami to take a 7 night cruise on the Carnival Glory.
Drive back to Orlando and stay at Pop Century resort for 5 days.
Drive back to Wichita. Straight through in 24 hours.

Here's a picture of Antonio and I from our last cruise in March. Just testing out to see if Photobucket works on this blog.

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Posted by MarathonMama629 18:05 Tagged road_trip cruise carnival disney Comments (0)

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