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Friday, March 2, 2012

Day 4 - our Disney youth educations series day!!

I woke up very early this morning - I had been having dreams that we overslept today and missed our class, therefore voiding our ticket deal!!  We had to be at the Ticket and Transportation Center by 7:15 to meet with our group for the American Adventure Y.ES. Class.  We were there in plenty of time after a very quick breakfast in the room (cereal that I brought with us).  We were divided up by the age of the kids - there were 3 groups total, one group of the older kids and two groups of the 8-11 year olds.  They were good about keeping siblings together and we were assigned to our instructor, Ralph.  Ralph was great, he had a wonderful sense of humor and was really good at making sure even the quietest of the group had a chance to participate.

We headed up to the Monorail after going through the introductions and getting name tags.  Ralph made sure we all got into one monorail car and he quizzed the kids a little bit on their knowledge of American History, to say he was impressed with their answers would be an understatement.  He did keep forgetting that they are homeschooled and kept asking them things like, if the principal came in your classroom and did this....the parents all chuckled every time and the kids just looked at him like he was speaking a language they didn't understand..

The park didn't open until 9 so we were not allowed to take photos prior to park opening.  We got to walk Right down the Middle of a virtually empty, Main Street USA.  I don't care how many times I walk that walk, it gives me goose bumps each and every time!!  We headed to Liberty Square and found a quiet spot to do some more talking about the birth of America, the founding fathers, the colonies, etc.

Finally, they came to get us for the moment we were so excited about!!  We were brought behind the scenes in the Hall of Presidents and got to walk on the stage, right in front of all the Presidents.  It was a very quick walk and again, no photos were allowed but it was so cool and so freaky, at the same time.  Some of the presidents had their eyes open, some of them were closed, Abe Lincoln had his arms stretched out and his head down.  It felt like he was going to reach out and grab us - we were within reach and they are all so real looking.  The walk through wasn't what I was expecting but at the same time, I had no idea what to expect - it was just a lot faster than I thought it would be (not complaining).  Not everyone can say they were allowed behind the curtain at the Hall of Presidents, so we feel pretty lucky in that respect!

After we were all done with that, we headed to Frontierland and learned what it was like for the early western settlers.  Everyone was given a new identity, a list of needed supplies and several supplies (printed on laminated cards).  The point was to get as many supplies as you could on your own list by trading with others.  Ralph was willing to trade but he took 2 items for 1 and some of the kids fell for that one.  It was a good lesson for them to see, even with just these cards, how hard it could be to get the simplest items, such as a hammer or a bucket.

The park was open at this point and we were off to ride my most favorite of all time, Splash Mountain.  We were taken to the front of the line through the fast pass line (there really wasn't much of a line anyway since it was so early).  Everyone had the choice if they wanted to ride or not and I think all but Ralph and one mom rode.  After everyone was gathered back together, we talked about the story a little bit and the history.  Then Ralph said he was taking us to his favorite attraction.....

Back through Frontierland to Liberty Square and we were heading into the queue of the Haunted Mansion - Ralph talked to us about Edgar Allen Poe and The Raven - he asked everyone to count how many ravens they saw in the ride (he left out to only count the ones with red eyes, so there were lots of different answers to this question).  We quickly boarded the ride and this is another one that never gets old - I love the hitchhiking ghosts at the end and with the new interaction with them, it cracks us up every time!!

The time had come for our seating in the Hall of Presidents!  They had reserved seating for us but again, it was the first showing of the day and it was not crowded in the least.  This attraction is a must do!!  The kids soaked in the history and seeing the Presidents, alive this time, never ceases to amaze.  It is amazing how they turn and look at the one who is speaking and they nod in agreement, words can't do it justice.  The boys were inspired to learn more about Andrew Jackson after seeing the film.  Between this and the American Adventure, they had some great history lessons on our week at Disney!  After the show, we headed outside to the Liberty Bell where the kids in the group took turns giving it 13 rings using a huge leather strap - the bell was still humming for several minutes after the 13th toll.. We got back into our groups one last time to sign our own copies of the Declaration of Independence and to say goodbye to Ralph and each other.  It was a quick 3 hours but full of information in a very fun way - the boys will never forget it!!
Now we were on our own for the rest of the day - Donald was out with no line so we grabbed a quick photopass opportunity here -
 The boys were begging to do Space Mountain - I was not feelin' it but I gave in so we all could ride.  I really prefer the Disneyland version to this one - I used to love it but it throws you around so much that it just isn't fun for me anymore - I'll take Everest or Rockin Roller Coaster any day over Space Mt....

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After our trip to space, we headed back to Fantasyland, Andy really wanted to do Mickey's Philharmagic.  Took some photo opps along the way and walked right in to the theater.  We also hit Small World right after - neither of them wanted to but I insisted!! We didn't do it last year so I made them do it this year.
Swahili for Go Well

After the rides, they were BEGGING to get more Sorcerer Cards, so we gave in and let them get some cards and play.  They were sent to Main Street and we were getting hungry so we stopped in to Casey's for lunch.  My husband loves sauerkraut and since it's on the toppings bar, he was lovin' it!!  We watched people feed the ducks, even though the signs clearly say not to. One little girl was holding a french fry up like the duck was a dog and made it beg - the duck got so mad, he went after her - she is lucky that he was quickly distracted by other falling food!!  I almost stepped on about 3 of the ducks, they are not the least bit afraid of humans - they were under my feet every time I looked down!!
Swiping his key
After they played for a little while, they got brave enough to ask others if they wanted to trade for cards they had doubles of.  Most didn't want to because they didn't understand the game yet or didn't have doubles but we found a few people that were thrilled to trade.  I was proud of my kids for going up and asking because I never would have done that at their age.  This is how bad they wanted all those spell cards!!

We took a few more photos around some different spots on the Main St. hub area and then headed in to see Mickey and Minnie - the line was listed at 10 minutes and it wasn't even that long.  The Princess line was listed at 20 but they wanted no part of that and those new shoes were really bothering me by this point in the week so I was ready for a break.  We headed out of the MK and back to the resort for a break.

I really could see myself going to Disney and just visiting the resorts.  They are so full of theme and beauty is so unique and captivating in each and every one.  I think there is just one that we have never set foot in... You are always immersed in the feeling that you really are in that era or that place.  We walked around the Beach Club and the Yacht Club (had to go find the vinlymation trading box over there).  Actually, we had our first really bad experience with a CM at the Yacht Club - he was so mean to the boys that I wanted to punch him!  If you don't want to deal with kids, you probably shouldn't be working at Disney World, just sayin'... Anyway, we moved on and decided that was enough of that resort and headed back to our own.. We were planning to head back to EPCOT for dinner and since we were up at 5, we went back to just relax in the room. The boys picked up some of the coloring sheets in the marketplace and did that so they could enter them in for Artist of the day.
We got ready to head to EPCOT for dinner at the America Pavilion.  I will take any excuse to go walk around EPCOT and staying so close made it possible for us to go there many more times that we otherwise would have! I was lovin every minute of it!!  I wanted to do the American Adventure again but I was met with resistance so I didn't persist.  We made our way slowly around World Showcase, back in the direction we came from.  We wanted to see who was playing in the UK and listen for a bit and spend a little time in Canada - I have a picture for some of my friends that live there - our joke is of course, about eh?? And the fact that Americans say huh?? I insisted we didn't until after they called me out on it and I caught myself saying it - eh sounds much nicer then huh.... Anyway, that photo is below and it's especially for De-Anna, Sandi, Diane, LiChing, Angel, Elaine, and our Dear Dawn who recently lost a battle with cancer..  Andrew fell in love with the leather bracelets that they were making and insisted that he was getting one.  I told him he could but not then because I wanted him to really think about it.  We did some pin trading with the kids working in the pavilion to get his mind off the bracelet, as if that would work....

We headed back over to The Imagination Pavilion - can't get enough I guess.  The fact that there is never a line, helps a lot!!  We played for a bit on the computers and the boys emailed themselves their creations.  They also made music in the different queues and of course, more photos.  They have a vinylmation trading box here remember and Austin had to check it out.  Andrew hung back, the little sneak, and watched the box when they opened it - he saw one of the Muppets that he wanted so bad and went up and got it.  I could not believe he did that!!  It made up for the way he was treated earlier at the Yacht Club..
Plug your nose!!!

Imagination is a BLAST!!
From here we headed over to test track and then Mission Space - not to ride MS but again, to check vinylmations.  There were 2 ladies in the store, one was buying and I swear she had over a dozen of them!! (I never pay full price for them, we aren't into it for the money, the boys just want characters they like - so they got a taste of serious traders here)!! The other woman had a bunch of tackle type boxes that she carried hers around in - she had a stroller for them even!!  The boys were amazed!!  They waited their turn to trade but didn't get anything they wanted.  We met a college student working there that is from an area not too far from us and had a very nice chat with him.  At this point, 5 am was a very long time ago and we headed back home for the night...not before some more photos though :)  Oh and on our way in, Nessa was there to greet Andrew and show him her newest pins :)

Happy Traders
I would never tire of this view at night - the boys are in there too, tough to see though