Friday, April 19, 2013

Back from the Happiest Place on Earth

We returned back to reality, from the happiest place on Earth, a couple of days ago, and it's been go - go - go ever since.

We were in Disney World - still one of my favorite places in the world. I remember visiting as a little girl, and it is still magical to me: this time around, as a parent, I see the magic though my children's eyes - and it's just as delightful. As we walked into the Magic Kingdom on our very first day, towards the park, my daughter could barely contain herself. She spotted Cinderella's castle and just squealed with happiness. Even my son had his beaming smile plastered on his face throughout the trip.

This trip was even more delightful because my parents, as well as my sister and her family, joined us. We laughed until we cried, we screamed on the roller coasters together and roamed around the parks, making memories along the way. We had breakfast with Winnie the Pooh, we checked into the Tower of Terror, we   swam in the volcano pool, we watched the fireworks over Cinderella's castle.

I remember how fun it was to travel with my cousins as a child, and now my kids, too, were having a blast with their cousins by their side. While Chiara at age 3 is years apart from her only girl cousin, Ashley, age 14, Chiara looks up to Ashley and in return, Chiara gives Ashley an excuse to hang on to the fun of little girlhood just a little bit longer.( My son and his cousin are just FOUR days apart and are pretty much twins - my sister and I couldn't have planned it better - and we didn't plan it at all!).

We stayed at the Polynesian Village, one of my favorite hotels in the world. Chiara was simply obsessed with the Tiki decor. Every evening, before we returned to our room for the night, she insisted on visiting this Tiki guy, who smiled from his rooftop.
I love stepping into the lobby of the Polynesian, where the smell of gardenias hits you as soon as you enter. When we weren't exploring the parks, we were swimming at the Polynesian's pool or playing on the beach. Daniel finally had a chance to rent a mini motor boat and rode with his cousin around the Seven Seas Lagoon (I think that was one of the main highlights of the trip for him!).

Daniel's favorite ride this year was Expedition Everest. Chiara's favorite ride was Winnie the Pooh (she was obsessed with the thunderstorm and Pooh's bad dream and the moving honey pots). Our favorite dining experience was at the New Fantasyland's Be Our Guest restaurant in the Beast's Castle: Chiara even met with the Beast himself in his library. Chiara loved meeting the characters, especially Cinderella and Prince Charming. I think Daniel was pretty delighted to meet Cinderella, too.

Then thanks to the American Airlines computer system breaking down, we were stuck in Orlando an extra day. We were saddened to learn of the tragedy in Boston as well. Back to reality it was.

Yesterday Daniel got braces (and he looks a few years old with them on somehow).  Chiara has pretended yesterday and today that she is going to Orlando by packing up her little suitcase yet again. I can't blame her - the weather here in Chicago stinks.

I'm happy for the many Disney moments celebrated with our entire family, and so thankful to have gathered so many laughs and giggles together with my kids.

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