Vacations

So much fun in Florida: Part 2

This past April, we flew to Florida to visit Disney World for a few days. In our previous post, we talked about our first day there. We explored Disney Springs, went swimming, rode the monorail, and had supper with Mickey and his friends – very fun! The next two days were just as fun too! We visited Magic Kingdom for two days and went on Noah’s favorite rides and met up with his favorite characters from our last trip.

Our first park day, we took an early ferryboat from the Wilderness Lodge across Bay Lake to Magic Kingdom – we wanted to get a head start! Here’s a photo of Noah and Ryan on the boat…

And here are a few photos of us at the entrance to Magic Kingdom!

We started out on Main Street USA, where we hopped aboard the Walt Disney World Railroad for a 1 ½ mile ride around Magic Kingdom. Riding the train was the perfect way to help us remember the lay of the land. We rode by Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland…and we eventually returned to Main Street USA.

Next we headed to the Transit Authority People Mover for a relaxing mile-long ride through Tomorrowland. This was one of Noah’s favorite rides from our first trip, so he was excited to go again. We actually rode it twice! And yep, as you’ll see in the last picture, we rode by Cinderella’s Castle.

Here is a short video of our ride on the People Mover. (As a quick reminder: If you’re reading this post in an email, you may need to open the blog webpage in order to view the video. To do so, just click on the title of the post (the link in blue) at the top of the email to open the blog in your web browser.)

Next Noah and Ryan jumped in the race cars at the Tomorrowland Speedway – another one of Noah’s favorites!

Then we had lunch with Winnie the Pooh and all his pals at Crystal Palace. Noah got to see the whole gang again – Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, and Tigger too! And they all signed Noah’s autograph book.

There were scattered rain showers early that afternoon, so we jumped in and out of shops as we worked our way to Fantasyland. As soon as the rain cleared up, we rode Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel – check it out!

And here’s a short video too…

Then we rode the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster. This was another one of Noah’s favorite rides from our last trip! Here are a few pictures from Disney’s cameras. Can you spot us?

Here’s a fun video that Ryan took with his GoPro. (We edited out the section where we were in the dark tunnel.) Yeah, it was a wild ride through the twists, turns, and hills of the dwarfs’ diamond mines!

And here’s a video that Disney created. Jump to the 30 second mark to get to the really fun stuff!

Our next stop was Frontierland, where we rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad…yet another favorite from our last trip. This roller coaster was made to resemble the gold mines of Utah’s Mountain Valley – it’s really cool! Here is a picture from our ride. Yeah, you can definitely tell that Noah loved it! (We have more photos to share of this ride from our second day at Magic Kingdom, so stay tuned.)

Then we headed to Adventureland and rode on the Jungle Cruise. This ten-minute ride took us through an Asian jungle, the Nile Valley, and an Amazon rainforest. We saw animatronic zebras, giraffes, lions, elephants, and more. This was our first time on this ride – it was pretty cool!

Here are a few pictures of Cinderella’s Castle that we snapped as we made our way back to Main Street USA…

After we finished up at Magic Kingdom, we rode the boat back to our hotel…

We worked up quite an appetite, so we had supper at the restaurant in the Wilderness Lodge. Can you guess what cabin-themed toys were there for the kids? Lincoln logs!

Yep, we had an awesome first day at Magic Kingdom…and the next day was just as fun too! Stay tuned for more!

Categories: Disney World, Florida, Spring break, Theme Parks, Vacations | 1 Comment

So much fun in Florida: Part 1

This past April, we flew to Florida for a few days to visit Disney World and Cocoa Beach. We went to Disney World two years ago for Noah’s 4th birthday. We had a great time then, so we were really excited to go back! (And yes, we’re definitely behind on a few of our vacation posts!)

Here’s Noah on our flight to Orlando…

Then we took a 45-minute bus ride on Disney’s Magical Express…

We got in really late, so we went straight to bed – whew!

Our first full day at Disney World was pretty low key. We spent the morning and early afternoon at the Disney Springs marketplace area. Here are a few photos of our bus ride there…

While at Disney Springs, we ate lunch, did some souvenir shopping, and played at the Lego store. Noah remembered this Lego store from our first trip, so we of course had to visit again! Here are pictures of Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the Seven Drawfs made out of Legos – very cool!

And here are a few pictures of Noah building too…

Midafternoon we headed back to the Wilderness Lodge to go swimming. We stayed at this hotel on our last trip too. Noah loved the pool then, so he was really excited to swim there again this trip. Check it out!

After swimming we had to quickly wash up because we had special supper plans at Chef Mickey’s! To get there, we took a short boat ride from the Wilderness Lodge across Bay Lake to the Contemporary resort. Here are a few photos from of our trip across the lake…

Another one of Noah’s favorite memories from our first trip was the monorail. Yeah, you know how much he loves trains! We had a few minutes to spare before our supper reservation, so Noah and Ryan hopped on the monorail for a quick trip around Disney World.

Here’s a short video of the monorail pulling into the Contemporary hotel. As a quick reminder: If you’re reading this post in an email, you may need to open the blog webpage in order to view the video. To do so, just click on the title of the post (the link in blue) at the top of the email to open the blog in your web browser.

And here’s a selfie from their ride!

After the monorail ride, we headed to Chef Mickey’s for supper. Noah got to eat with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, and Donald Duck – the whole gang was there! Noah had a great time giving high fives and hugs. He got them to sign his special autograph book too. Grandma Debbie made this book for our last trip; it was fun to use it again and compare signatures.

As Mickey would say, “What a magical day!” Stay tuned to read more about our spring break trip to Disney World. The next few days were filled with rides, rides, rides!

Categories: Disney World, Florida, Legos, Spring break, Swimming, Trains, Vacations | 1 Comment

Summer vacation in South Dakota: Part 3

As you probably read in our previous posts, Noah and I recently visited Grandma Debbie and Grandpa Rod in South Dakota. We still have a few more stories to share…because we of course couldn’t visit South Dakota in the summer without taking full advantage of the great outdoors!

One of the things Noah was really looking forward to this trip was canoeing with Grandpa Rod. Noah went on his first canoe ride earlier this summer on the Potomac River in DC. He loved it, and so he was so excited to go canoeing again when we were in South Dakota.

Noah had fun helping Grandpa get the canoe all cleaned up and ready to go.

There are a lot of great canoeing and kayaking spots by Grandma and Grandpa’s house; we chose Oakwood Lakes State Park near Brookings. And we actually went canoeing twice! Here are a few photos from our first canoeing and kayaking trip…

Here’s a short video of Noah and Grandpa canoeing too. Yeah, Noah had a blast! (As a quick reminder: If you’re reading this post in an email, you may need to open the blog webpage in order to view the video. To do so, just click on the title of the post (the link in blue) at the top of the email to open the blog in your web browser.)

We snuck in some beach time that day too…

And Noah had just as much fun on his second canoe trip. Check it out!

Another thing that Noah was really looking forward to was riding his bike. Since Grandma and Grandpa live in the country, their roads are quiet and long. Their roads are really flat and straight too – the perfect combo! (Our bike trails in Virginia are really curvy and hilly, and congested with people too…so not quite as smooth sailing.)

Here’s a quick video of Noah on his bike too. Yeah, as you can see, Noah had a nice open space to ride!

We went for evening walks on the country roads too…

We spent a lot of time just playing inside too, especially since it was really hot some days and storming some days too. Noah, Grandma, and Grandpa played trains and cars, watched movies, played games on the iPad, and put Legos together.

Oh, and Noah wanted to make sure we mentioned the yummy donuts from Grandpa’s donut store (the Ward’s Store)! Mmmmm…

Our trip to South Dakota went by fast, but we had an AWESOME time! We’ll see you again soon, Grandma Debbie and Grandpa Rod!

Categories: Bike riding, Fun outings, Grandparents, Nature, South Dakota, Summer, Vacations | 2 Comments

Summer vacation in South Dakota: Part 2

As I mentioned in our previous post, we recently spent a week with family in South Dakota. If you missed our post about visiting the Watertown zoo and camping at Lake Poinsett, you can read it here.

We also spent a day in Brookings. Noah was so excited to visit the Children’s Museum of South Dakota. We’ve been to this play museum on previous trips, and Noah loved it. It’s one of his favorite places!

Noah had a blast playing with Grandma Debbie and Grandpa Rod. They fixed the blue car (it always needs repairs!), went grocery shopping, helped build the frame of a house, used the conveyor belt to move foam blocks, learned about the movement of air and water in the “Splash” room, and made designs on the giant Light Bright. Whew! Check it out!

One of the new exhibits since our last visit was the “Airway Adventure.” Noah and Grandpa created different airflow paths in this giant structure by rearranging the tubes and adjusting the connection points. They tested their paths by watching colorful handkerchiefs blow through the tubes. Very cool!

And of course, we couldn’t go to the Children’s Museum without visiting the dinosaurs!

Grandpa and Noah worked their way through the Tangle Town maze (another new exhibit for us). Six tons of willow saplings were woven together to create this prairie maze. Awesome!

Noah found his way through an underground tunnel system too…

Yeah, Noah had another great visit to the Children’s Museum with Grandma and Grandpa!

We worked up quite an appetite, so we headed to Cubby’s for lunch. Noah and Grandpa played tic-tac-toe while we waited for our food.

After lunch we hung out at a nearby playground for a while before hopping back in the car to head home. It was a nice afternoon to be outside!

Stay tuned for another post on Noah’s recent adventures with Grandma Debbie and Grandpa Rod. Yep, there’s more!

Categories: Fun outings, Grandparents, South Dakota, Summer, Vacations | 1 Comment

Summer vacation in South Dakota: Part 1

A few weekends ago, Noah and I flew to South Dakota to hang out with Grandma Debbie and Grandpa Rod for the week. Here are a few fun photos from our flights there.

Our first full day there, we met Aunt Jenny and Cory and Wyatt (Noah’s cousins) at Bramble Park Zoo in Watertown. We saw camels, monkeys, jaguars, lemurs, snakes, bears, and more. Check it out!

We visited the barn too and saw llama, goats, horses, and pigs.

Noah, Wyatt, and Grandma Debbie even fed some of them!

The boys also had fun running up and down the sand pile in the playground area.

They panned for gold too but didn’t have any luck. Bummer, right?!?!

After we finished at the zoo, we headed to the state park at Lake Poinsett to camp for the night. Here are a few pics of Noah hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa at the cabin.

Noah had a great time playing with his cousins at the beach.

Noah and his cousins also played soccer, raced cars, and tossed bean bags.

We went for a quick walk by the beach at sunset too. Yeah, what a nice view!

And of course, you can’t go camping without making s’mores! Messy but yummy…

The next morning, Noah and his cousins played at the beach one last time before we packed up and headed back to Grandma Debbie and Grandpa Rod’s house. We were in South Dakota for a week, and the weather was the nicest on the days we were at the lake. Yeah, we really lucked out!

Stay tuned to read more about Noah’s recent adventures in South Dakota. There’s a lot more to share!

Categories: Animals, Cousins, Fun outings, Grandparents, Nature, South Dakota, Summer, Vacations | 2 Comments

Family fun in New York City: Part 2

As you probably read in our previous blog post, we recently made a quick weekend trip to New York City to visit Aunt Jenny, Uncle Sean, and Abby, Nathan, and Cory (Noah’s cousins) while they were there on vacation. If you missed our post about going to the top of the Empire State Building, you can read it here. We saw some amazing views!

After we finished at the Empire State Building, we hopped on the subway with Cory, Abby, and Aunt Jenny and headed to Coney Island in Brooklyn. The ride took about an hour.

Once we got there, we headed straight to the amusement park for rides, rides, rides. Our first ride was the giant Ferris wheel. Going on this ride first was a good way to scope out the amusement park, boardwalk, and beach. Yeah, we had some great views from the top!

Noah and Cory went on a few other rides together too. Noah especially enjoyed the Wild River log ride since it was hot, hot, hot that day!

Noah also went on the Trapeze swings with Abby.

Ryan got in on the fun too. He went on the Cyclone roller coaster and Air Race with Cory.

Noah had fun watching Cory on the Electro Spin too.

Here’s a fun video of our crew on the rides. As a quick reminder: If you’re reading this post in an email, you may need to open the blog webpage in order to view the video. To do so, just click on the title of the post (the link in blue) at the top of the email to open the blog in your web browser.

After we were finished with the rides, we headed to the boardwalk and beach. Noah loved wading in the water and playing in the sand.

Yeah, we had a great time at Coney Island!

When we got back to Manhattan later that evening, Noah and Ryan went straight to the hotel to play buses for a while, and then Noah zonked out early – he had a busy day! The rest of us went back to the Empire State Building, since it was just a short walk from our hotel. Here’s a photo from the street…

And here are a few photos of the nighttime views from the top – very cool!

The next morning, we visited One World Trade Center.

We got a special tour from one of Ryan’s colleagues that works there. While we didn’t go all the way to the top (there are 104 floors), we did visit the staff lounge and coffee shop on the 60th floor. We saw some amazing views of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Hudson River, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and lots and lots of skyscrapers.

We also visited the FEMA offices and saw some of Ryan’s New York City colleagues.

We briefly visited the 9/11 Memorial as well.

Then we headed to Penn Station to catch our train back home. We rode the train all the way to Alexandria (its final destination was Richmond). We of course still stopped at Union Station in Washington, DC on the way through. The coolest thing about our stop at Union Station was watching our train switch from an electric locomotive to a diesel locomotive, since electric locomotives can’t run on the tracks south of DC. It was fun to watch!

And here is photo of Noah and Ryan at our Amtrak station in Alexandria.

This was Noah’s second trip to New York City. He’s already excited to go back again. Yep, we had an AWESOME weekend with Aunt Jenny, Uncle Sean, and Abby, Nathan, and Cory. We’ll see you all again soon!

Categories: Cousins, New York, Summer, Trains, Vacations | 1 Comment

Family fun in New York City: Part 1

Two weeks ago, Aunt Jenny, Uncle Sean, and Abby, Nathan, and Cory (Noah’s cousins) were vacationing in New York City. Since they were so close, we made a quick weekend trip to NYC to visit and see the sights with them.

That Saturday afternoon, we boarded the Amtrak train at Union Station in Washington, DC. If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know that Noah loves trains – he was so excited!

It took about 3 ½ hours to get to Penn Station in Manhattan. Noah enjoyed watching the speedometer on Ryan’s phone along the way. The train was going 65 miles per hour when I snapped the photo below, but we got up to 125 miles per hour at one point – yeah, really fast!

We didn’t get to New York City until suppertime, so we headed straight to the hotel to relax and hang out for the night.

Noah really wanted to ride the subway (who wouldn’t at age six?), so that was the first thing we did the next morning.

After our subway ride, we hopped in a taxi to meet the rest of our group. Taxicab selfie!

We met up at the Empire State Building. Here is the view from the street.

And here is a pic of Noah and his cousins in the lobby.

We rode the high-speed elevator to the 80th floor and got a sneak peek of the great views…

And then we took a short elevator ride to the 86th floor Observatory, which is the highest open-air observation deck in New York City. We saw some incredible panoramic views of Manhattan, the Hudson River, the Brooklyn Bridge, and beyond. Check it out!

This was Noah’s second time going to the top of the Empire State Building. His first visit was last year with Cory, Aunt Jenny, Grandma Debbie, and Grandpa Rod. Pretty cool!

Stay tuned to read more about our weekend trip to New York City. We have a lot more to share!

 

Categories: Cousins, New York, Summer, Trains, Vacations | Leave a comment

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