Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mini Vacay (Part two)

OK, so this is the second half of our little family vacation post.

On Sunday we met up with some friends at Disney's Animal Kingdom. My kids loved running around with them, and it made an already fun time even more fun.

I am a huge fan of packing 5 million healthy snacks, so that I don't have to spend a ton of money on unhealthy park foods. We take apples, bananas, plums, avocados, yogurt, a bag of cut veggies (celery, cucumber, peppers, broccoli, carrots. etc...), hard boiled eggs, trail mix, etc... Grady said to me yesterday, "Mom. I never stop eating. I am an eating robot!" This has proven to be true, hence then vast array of snacks.

Also of note, as you may know, we are budget minded. My favorite plan for these parks is to pack a lunch and snacks, and then eat a nice dinner. Just a tip that we use almost every time we eat out: we have found that buying an adult entree and splitting it for the kids tends to be more cost efficient than buying three kids meals, and they always end up with plenty of food.

After the last Lion King show, we ate dinner at The Rainforest Cafe, which is one of the kids' very favorite places. And on the way out, we were able to stop in a parking lot and catch a close up view of the Epcot fireworks (which is one of my very favorite things!).

The next morning was our last day at the hotel. We packed up, checked out, and headed for Legoland Florida. I don't think any of us really had an idea of what to expect. Coming from two days at Disney, we automatically compared the two.

This is my low down comparison, in case anyone cares:
Price: I think they both charge too much. We received a deep discount for homeschoolers at Legoland, and Disney was free, but in general, I think that both parks are over priced.
Appearance/staff/grounds: Disney wins hands down on all aspects. Disney is over the top beautiful and clean, the staff are super friendly and professional. Disney just has a sense of excitement about it. It's in the music that plays all throughout the parks, the landscaping, the huge size of the attractions - it's just in the air. That's one of those things you can't categorize.
Rides: Legoland takes this one. The number of rides we were able to ride at Legoland was probably triple of what we could fit in a day at Disney. Legoland had several different kinds of roller coasters that even grown ups would enjoy (like a wooden one, one without a floor where your legs swing free, and a few others). They had plenty of things for kids Lilly's age to do. And in every line, there is an area in the middle of the line for the kids to play with legos while the parents wait. Wait times averaged 10-20 minutes. Also, there were several playgrounds, which was a nice for Lilly while the big kids were riding big kid rides. Reportedly there is a water park for an additional price, but I did not see it. And I appreciated that Legoland had hand sanitizer at every ride.
Ease and relaxation: Again, Legoland. There were so many less people. I didn't have that feeling of constant worry, like I do at Disney, making sure that I can see all of my kids at all times or they might vanish into a sea of legs, never to be seen again. There was room to comfortably push strollers without running into ankles, and there was no need to rush from place to place.
Shows: Oh good grief. No contest. Disney.
Food: Disney. There is nothing besides fast food, fried food, sandwiches and desserts at Legoland. Not really any healthy choices, and no sit down restaurants.

I think those are all of my thoughts for now. We had wonderful times at both parks, and I'm not choosing a favorite.

Lilly felt the need to hug all of the little Lilly sized statues, and then ask me to take their picture.

We had such a good time together, just being with each other. These days we have are good, and whether we're at an amusement park or sitting at home working on handwriting, I want to be so fully present, and aware of all of the things we have to be thankful for. I want to teach my kids that being entertained is fun, but so is running around outside, or doing arts and crafts inside, and what's most important is the relationships that we form in life. People need to be our main priority, not entertainment, as fun as it may be.

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