Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Disneyworld & Hurricane Irma

In September we were lucky enough to be taken to Disneyworld by my incredible dad, along with my sisters and brother and their families. It was an absolutely phenomenal experience. We had so much fun and such a great time with all of the family. I am not exaggerating when I say that Ellie and Zelda have mentioned it almost every day since we went (almost six months ago now!). 

Before we went, we (especially my sister Alyse) spent months planning, choosing which hotel to stay at, which park to go to on what day, where to eat, etc. Alyse made reservations at all the restaurants for us, reserved fast passes for us, and more.

And then, just before we came to Florida, Hurricane Irma began to loom large over the region. And four days after we got there, she hit.

All of our plans were entirely altered. All of the parks were closed for two days, and our hotels were on lockdown. Because the airport was closed, Jason's flight home (he had only been planning to be there for about half the trip, because of work) was canceled and had to be pushed back. The rest of us decided to extend our trip for two days to make up for the two days spent in the hotel, and to use the full number of park passes that my dad had already purchased.

Some of the parks were still operating on a limited level even after they reopened (Animal Kingdom in particular had tons of tree branches down all over the park), so the order that we had planned to go to the parks had to be rearranged. Since the fast pass and restaurant reservations were date-specific, they all had to be rearranged, too. (While a pain, this did open up some opportunities for us, which I'll explain later!)

The whole thing was a wild ride and really just an absolute blast. This post will have the pictures from our first day (which was all traveling) and the days that we were trapped in the hotel during the hurricane.

I flew with the three girls by myself to Orlando, as Jason had to work and then join us later in the week. Here we are on the shuttle from the parking lot to the airport; the girls thought it was a crazy experience to be in a car without carseats:


Ellie and Zelda were great on the airplane, Susie was...not. But we made it there! After we landed we took an airport zippy monorail thingy over to the main concourse, where we got our bags and made our way to the Disney buses. The bus ride to our hotel was about 45 minutes long, and then we were there!

We stayed at Kidani Village, which was awesome. The girls and I were the first out of everybody to arrive, so we rested in the room for a couple hours and then explored the hotel. We came downstairs just in time for a drum lesson, which we really enjoyed.


And here are the pictures from the days we had to stay at the hotel due to the hurricane. Since our hotel (Kidani Village) and another hotel (the Animal Kingdom Lodge) are literally right next door to each other, we were allowed to travel between hotels during the day time, before the hurricane winds picked up on Sunday and after they died down on Monday.

It was actually quite cozy and fun being there in the hotel with all our extended family the night that the hurricane passed over us. Our hotel rooms were full to bursting (Tanner {my sister's husband} had driven up from Miami to join us for the weekend, and brought his cousin, who didn't have a safe place to stay in Miami during the storm), and we all bunkered down as the rain got heavier and the wind got louder and louder and louder.

When we woke up the next morning, we could see from right outside our windows that a lot of tree branches and whole big trees had come down all around the hotel.


Back inside the hotel, Minnie and Mickey spent lots of time with us, coloring with the girls downstairs in the activity room:


And in the (much) larger lobby of the Animal Kingdom Lodge they had lots of activities set up. Coloring pages, board games, giant jenga, giant connect four, face painting, dancing, and more.


Ellie met Rafiki:


And Zelda got her face painted:


The girls also played for a long time with all the stuffed animals in the gift shop. Unsurprisingly, this ended up with each girl begging, and getting, to pick one to take home.


(As you can see from the change of clothes, we went there on both hurricane days.)

Meanwhile back at the hotel room, Susie was rampaging around and cuddling with Grandpa.


When they were hanging out back in the rooms, too, Zelda and Ezra watched lots of Disney movies. I love these pictures of them together watching some "scary" movie (probably 101 Dalmations, haha).


So even the days that a hurricane hit us at Disneyworld were fun. :)

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