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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Animal Kingdom

I went to the Animal Kingdom for the very first time last August when we brought our kids to Disney World for the first time. I didn't know what to expect. I had not heard a lot about the Animal Kingdom and in fact I had not even bothered to go there on previous trips. So, needless to say that when we finally did go, I was blown away. I highly recommend making this part of your trip. This is a newer part of Disney so it has some really amazing rides. Mt. Everest is an awesome roller coaster!

A few tips: Fast passes and rider switch cards are available on five of the rides. It is often much quicker to meet the characters at this park. I am not sure why, but every time we have tried it has been quite quick. This is the place to meet Tiger, Pooh, and Eeyore because the line is always short!

We started our day out by walking towards Dinosaur land. On our way we stopped to see the It's Tough to be a Bug show. It was a good 3-D show with some fun surprises.
I have to stop and mention two other shows that are at this park. Nemo and Lion King. Both are very good and definatley worth seeing. These are not a movie like It's tough to be a Bug, but live shows with dancing and singing. If you only have time for one go see the Lion King.
Then we were on the dinosaur ride. The name of it escapes me at the moment, but it is one of the best rides I have ever been on. It will scare you! Here is a picture of us going back in time to the age of the dinosaurs!

The only other big ride in dino land is the Primo Whirl. This is a good ride and has a height requirement on it. It was a little too rough for me and after a few trips here I now skip this ride, because I don't like getting banged around that much!

You can not hang out in dino land without making some time for the Boneyard. This is a massive playground. There is an area where you can dig for bones, slides, tunnels, climbing and more!

Be sure to go on the Safari and see all of the animals including elephants, zebras, and more.
There is a walk you can go on and look at animals like monkeys, tigers and more.The Animal Kingdom also has its own parade. It is very unique and different then the ones at the other parks.
This is a picture from the Kali River rapid ride. Beware you can get totally soaked on this ride!

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

more on the Magic Kingdom

I wanted to continue on the Magic Kingdom today. If you didn't see the early post be sure to read it for tips on fast passes and on rider switch cards. Both will make your trip much more pleasurable.

There is no doubt that this is an expensive vacation, but I must say it was worth every dime. I can not put into words how much fun our kids had. I planned this trip for months and we saved for months. The kids were so excited to go, but their faces when we got there made all the time and effort worth it.
If you can get to the Magic Kingdom by opening then you can see the show they put on up in the train station. I can't comment to much on this, because the only time I have seen it we were still to far away to really see the show. We were still on the ferry. Remember even though you get to the parking lot early you still have to catch the tram to the front. From their you have to either take the ferry or monorail into the Magic Kingdom. It takes thirty minutes just to get from where you parked to the Magic Kingdom.  I recommend the ferry during peak times. The monorail gets backed up often.
Once in the park you are in Main Street USA. Characters that can most often be found on Main Street USA are Snow White, Goofy, Donald Duck, and Chip N Dale.
One of the shops you can find on Main Street USA is the barber shop. They do several things here. Most people get some colored hair gel and confetti in their hair. We took our son to get his first hair cut there. At the end he received some Mickey ears that say "First Haircut" on the back. They also gave him a certificate. The cost was 14.00. Be sure to get there as early as possible, they usually only have two people working and once there is a line you are waiting for an hour.On Main Street USA the trolley will come down the street off and on all day and the performers jump off and put on a show.As you walk from Liberty land towards Frontier land you can catch Woody and the gang performing. Children can participate Woody's Roundup.
One of favorite places is the small playground near Splash Mountain. While we wait for the each other to ride Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain Railroad, we take our youngest here to play. This can be found under the railroad station not far from the bathrooms at Splash Mountain. Be sure to make time to help Buzz Lightyear fight the evil emperor Zerg! Around 3 or 3:30 everyday there is an afternoon parade. I have an excellent spot for viewing this parade. But I do not want to share it here, because I don't want my perfect spot to get too crowded! If you would like to know email me and I will tell you where it is. At night they put on a parade with the floats all light up. These are not the same floats as the daytime parade.After the parade there is a fireworks show called Wishes. It starts with Tinkerbell flying off of the castle over the crowd. This is a very good fireworks show and is worth seeing if you can manage to keep your kids happy enough to be out that late! It is a fairly long fireworks program. I suggest being as close to the entrance as possible for this show that way you can quickly get out of the park instead of being in the massive crowd all exciting at the same time.

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Magic Kingdom - How to utilize the FAST PASS system!

I have so much I want to say about Disney World that it is hard for me to pick a starting place. I thought since the Magic Kingdom is probably the most popular I would just start there.
Disney Fast Pass

Get there as early as possible. I just can't stress this enough. You can get so much done the first two hours if you get there at the opening. Think about what you want to achieve and have in your mind a route that will work good for your family. You don't want to be walking back and forth all day long. We have tried several routes and all worked about the same. It just depended on what we really wanted to do the most. For instance, one time we really wanted to make sure we got on the Buzz Lightyear ride. This is my kids favorite ride. So, as soon as we made it through the gate we headed straight there to pull fast passes ( will explain this later ). Because there was no line we were able to pull our fast passes for a good time of day and then immediately get on the ride and then get on the ride again. We got to ride it three times that day! So, it really paid off to hustle over there.

Utilize the fast pass system. This will save your hours of standing in line. There are many rides at the Magic Kingdom that have fast passes. Buzz Lightyear, Space Mountain, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain Railway, and the Jungle Cruise.

There are also fast passes for Carousel of Progress and the Philharmonic show but DO NOT waste your fast passes on these rides. When you pull fast passes for a ride near these you will also be give a Bonus Fast Pass for one of these two rides.

Remember to consider who can ride the ride before you pull the passes. For example my daughter is not tall enough to ride Space Mountain, but my son is. So, we will pull two fast pass tickets for it. Then we will go up and get a rider switch card (will explain this later). My husband and son will use the two fast passes to ride first and then I will use the rider switch card to ride the ride with my son.

Also, make the most use out of time by deciding how many fast pass tickets to pull for each ride. For example both of our children can ride Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain Railroad. But my husband and I can not ride at the same time because our toddler can not ride. So, we pull two fast passes for one ride and then two fast passes for the other ride. Then we get a rider switch card for both rides. Now we don't have to stand in line for either ride because we have fast passes and the switch card. Even though we have to switch off riding the ride we still get both rides done in the time it would have taken to stand in just one line.

Now if we were riding Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, or Buzz lightyear we would have to pull all four fast passes because we can all ride the ride at the same time.

Remember that at the Magic Kingdom your toddler or baby can ride almost every single ride in the park! Our son was about a year and a half the first time we took him and he was able to ride all the rides except for 4 of them.

Use the rider's switch card! If you have a young child with you that can not ride the ride or doesn't want to ride get a rider's switch card. To do this you go up to the fast pass return place for that specific ride. Let them know you need a card. They will want to see all of you to verify who is riding first and who is riding next and they want to see the kid that makes you eligible for the card. It is that easy. And the best part is you get to use the fast pass lane with that card.

More Magic Kingdom
All about Animal Kingdom

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Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

Whistler, British Columbia is an ideal place for a family vacation. This quaint ski town looks like a place you would only see on TV. There are lots of condos in the area so it is easy to get a place to stay with a few bedrooms. The condos most often have some sort of pool, hot tub, and sauna. There is daycare on the mountain and in town as well.

Whistler is quite small, but packed with family activities. I enjoy being able to walk with my children everywhere. We always stop at the playgrounds while we walk around. Each of the mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb, offer ski lessons for kids and daycare for the very little ones. However, the day care usually doesn't start until at least Dec 1st. So, if you go up for Thanksgiving you will be out of luck.
Biking - If you go in the summer months take your bikes with you or plan to rent some. There are tons of paved trails. You can just bike around town or around one of the lakes. If you are into mountain biking you can take your bike up the mountain on the gondola and bike down the mountain on some serious trails!

Rock climbing - There is an indoor facility not far from the convention center that is a lot of fun. From what I remember kids 5 and up can participate. This same place is also a gym. They sell passes for the day or week.
Skiing - Ages 3 and up can take lessons. The skiing here is excellent.
Swimming - There is an indoor recreation facility called Meadow Park Sports Centre that has a
large swimming pool and is inexpensive. It also had a nice size hot tub.

Ice skating - This is also available at the Meadow Park Sports Centre. As you can see from the picture they provide helmets for the kids as well as these bars to keep them up.

Painting - There is a pottery place in the village that you can take your kids to so they can create a master piece.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009


As most of you know two of my kids suffer from eczema. We struggle year round with both of them to keep it under control. We have an especially hard time because my daughter is allergic to oats which is in most products used to help eczema.

We have recently started using a new product that I like so I thought I would share it with you. It is called CeraVe. We have used the moisturizing cream which I think works really well if you can get past the some what odd smell. We have also used their cleansing lotion, but I would not recommend it for shampooing, but just as a body wash.

We also use Elidel and have not had any side effects and we just started using Que ti va also a prescription drug. I am actually not sure of the actual spelling since on the tube it is a different name. I just know what the Dr. kept calling it. I will update you after we have tried it for a while on how it works.

I would love to hear any tips on how you handle your child's eczema.


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