E.P.C.O.T. (Disney, Day 3)

After a fun day at the Magic Kingdom, we were ready to explore EPCOT.
This is my favorite park, I think.

First, we did the progress ride.  We cracked up at the computer's predictions for Will & Lovie.

It seems like most of the rides at Disney are not designed to be thrill rides.  
But.  Many are in the dark or have sudden jerky movements - which terrified Ellie.
This Finding Nemo ride was lots of fun (mostly.  Ellie calmed down part way through when she realized she was just riding a giant plastic clam shell to look at fish.)

"Turtle Talk with Crush" is probably one of my very favorite Disney attractions.  I think it's hilarious!
Will got to sit front and center.
(We got in early due to our disability pass for Mimi & our kiddos.)

Ellie's new "smile" pose for pictures - for some reason, she closes her eyes.
Note the fun "Finding Nemo" smocked dress- I'm obsessed with themes.

At our "crowned and gowned" princess lunch in Norway, Ellie really perked up.
She loved Snow White.

She wanted to be a part of the parade with the princesses and little girls so Lovie carried her so she could participate.
I found fun Disney princess hair clips on Etsy!
The "real" Ariel loved this day's clip.

Will liked Snow too.

Ellie was a litle unsure about getting so close- but at least she wasn't screaming or hiding.
Then, Ellie really got into handing her autograph book to each princess.  She loved Aurora.

Finally!  Ariel!

Ellie is a big fan of Norwegian desserts, apparently.

Birthday cupcakes

We were all so exhausted every day.  We didn't have time for our usual long afternoon naps but each of  us crashed pretty hard for an hour or so.
We decided not to take a pack and play for Ellie - though she still sleeps in a crib, we put her on the couch bed in the hotel room.  She slept awesome & loved her "big girl bed." 
(We brought an inflatable bolster to use as a bed rail... although she was so tired I don't think she moved a ton.)
Thankfully, she has now gone back to sleeping in a crib just fine.

That night, we headed back to the Magic Kingdom for a very special event - Mickey's Magical Christmas Party!
It was very magical!
There was snow on Main Street (that wasn't even cold!)

Because there were a limited number of tickets, we got to do some favorite rides all over again - with no waits!

Lovie gave the kids fun necklaces which were perfect for the magical Christmas parade!

The parade was AMAZING!
It featured lots of characters that you don't normally see around Disney...
Wendy & Peter Pan (waving right at Will!)

Mickey & Minnie (of course!)

Can you name all 7?

The kids (& grown ups too) loved the parade.
It was the first full sensory parade I've ever seen - some of the floats actually released scents!  One smelled like sugar cookies!
It was fun to see so many characters up close & Ellie & Will loved waving at them.
Ellie got a special wave and wink from the Fairy Godmother.  A really fun memory!
Goofy's float was a scent float - so cool.
Some of Will's favorite characters.
(Funny story - on our last night as we were up late packing suitcases, R found a Woody doll stuffed into his suitcase.  He pulled him out & pulled his string and Woody exclaimed, "Boy, am I glad to see you!"  Gave us a good laugh.)

Afterwards, we enjoyed Mickey's hot chocolate & cookies - being served all over the park.
R and I rode our first roller coaster together.
Yes.  In 2 years of dating and almost 10 years of marriage, we have never ridden a roller coaster together (or even been to a theme park before now.)
We rode Thunder Mountain.  In the dark.
It was so scary but really fun too.
R would like you to know that he wasn't scared.
Perhaps I screamed a few times.
When we got off, the couple in front of us told us that my screams made it more fun for them.  So really, I was just helping increase everyone's enjoyment.
As we rode it, fireworks were going off all around us - it really was magical.

Before heading home to bed, we had to get a picture with these guys.  Mickey's Magical Christmas Party is the only time they come out for pictures all year!

And we crashed.  Again.

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