Peanut Adventures, Issue 13 (A Very Peanut Holiday in Orlando)
I hope everyone had a wonderful 2017 Holiday. You may have noticed I took a little break from the weekly updates to spend time with the family, but I'll make up for it here: we went hard the past two weeks. We partied. We celebrated. Not just at Disney. I wanted to take this issue as an opportunity to share with everyone a lot of fun things we AP's do to celebrate the holidays here in Orlando while dodging the most massive crowds of the year.
One of our favorite family traditions we started as Annual Passholders is going to Epcot on Christmas Eve. Despite the holidays being absolutely insane at WDW, Epcot on Christmas Eve is surprisingly manageable (not dead, but not painful) and VERY festive. We had to make a pit stop at Animal Kingdom first for a last minute gift. D saw an old buddy hanging outside, so we had to go say Hello.
D was in a great mood when we arrived at Epcot.
We took a trip around the World Showcase and took a quick detour to the Boardwalk for a cocktail at the Abracadabar. D had a photoshoot.
We mostly just walked around, enjoying each other's company. We said hi to friends, Mellie even joined us for a while. Finished the last of our holiday shopping and called it a night.
Another tradition we have is to enjoy at least one day of "Daily Ops" at Magic Kingdom (yes, braving the craziest days of the year to see the Christmas Parades/shows). We ended up landing on the day after Christmas. I was nervous, since the park had reached phase closing the day before (to my knowledge, this didn't happen in 2016, but we'd been there for it 2015/2014, it's not pleasant).
We arrived around 90 minutes before the first parade, and I offered myself up to grab the strollers and hold our spots for parade. The whole time. Honestly, a couple of reasonably assertive adults and strollers can hold down the fort pretty well. Maddie & Amanda joined us with Mellie, and the girls surprised us all by being more than happy to hang out in our parade spot with us (D wanted to show Maddie Flushed Away).
The PAC Cast Members did a great job of keeping people from sitting in front of us (there's a rope there, but people, especially during peak weeks, are pretty dense), and I definitely got my personal space invaded by latecomers, but in the end the girls were comfortable and got to cheer on their favorites which is all that really matters.
Amanda snagged us a reservation for Tony's Town Square Restaurant for lunch right after the parade. It was packed, and they were behind with seating, so we camped out in Town Square Theater while the girls "performed." Tony's was fun, but lordy so expensive for what you get! D and I slipped into the bathroom for her afternoon costume change.
Yup, we did the holiday finale update for her Friendship Faire dress. By that time it was getting close to 3 p.m. So we grabbed a spot for the second Christmas Parade viewing.
Until Next Year, Mickey's Once Upon A Christmastime Parade!
We'd been in the park for 6 hours and hadn't left Town Square. This may seem ridiculous, but it had very helpfully kept us from the worst of the crowds that holiday week had to offer. Still, we had to make a beeline for the castle stage so we could catch the holiday Friendship Faire finale one last time for the year. Another Christmas miracle: nobody assaulted us for standing up for the show (y'all, I got stories...). Then after the show, D got a special surprise...
Tiny backstory: Rob and Andrew are "our boys" in Friendship Faire. D always looks for them and cheers for them (and they are almost always both in the show every time we see it). So when they invited us back to see them, D was super excited (D has met Andrew before off the clock, but never Rob). It says something that D had zero hesitation to go to an adult male at Disney for the first time (see every time we've met a prince like ever), she hugged Rob so fast I didn't even get the picture in full focus.
Seriously, big thanks to our boys for this special holiday surprise.
We'd considered staying longer, but we were so wiped and still had a full day planned for Wednesday, so we called it and headed for the car.
Wednesday: Sea World Holiday Celebration at LAST. Sea World was the most full I've ever seen it, but even then, it's NOTHING compared to how packed WDW feels during this week. We had some time before meeting up with our friends, so I asked D where she wanted to go first. Sting Ray tank. Girl after my own heart. This time I remembered a towel. Felt very smart.
We met up with Mellie to go visit the Sea Lion feeding area. Mellie treated D to food trays and we had an absolute blast with these noisy babies.
Jeanna, Greg, & Bella caught up with us at the Dolphin Nursery. Sea World recently updated this whole area and has these fantastic new viewing bubbles.
Jeanna treated the girls to a Dolphin Encounter for Christmas! I GOT TO GO, TOO. Y'ALL!!!!
This is Dash, poking her little nose over the side looking for fish. We had a trainer work with us, showing us different commands and teaching us all kinds of stuff about dolphins and the social dynamics of the nursery. D was beside herself. She got to pet the dolphin and do hand commands. She also volunteered to get SOAKED by her tail fluke (I brought a change of clothes in yet another unprecedented act of brilliance on my part).
Took a quick stroll through the Christmas Village, said hi to Bumble...
...and the girls had a little photo shoot.
After collecting our photos from the Dolphin Nursery we called it a night.
Keeping a kid entertained while she's off school is a challenge. Luckily, we had friends visiting from out of town, plus we finally could go see Coco (D liked it, even if 90% of the movie went over her head and she still wants to call the little boy Coco).
You would think this would be enough right? WRONG. BACK TO SEA WORLD FOR NEW YEAR'S EVE DAY! We'd missed our chance to see Elmo's Christmas Wish, and D would have never forgiven us if we didn't see it this season. D was thrilled she could still fit into her Zoe Ballerina dress.
Ran into our buddy, Andrew, and D instantly grabbed onto him
I just love this show, y'all...
This year when we were invited for a Monster visit, I came prepared. We baked fresh Monster Cookies for the Sesame Street crew. But first, hugs!
Then D brought out the cookies and Cookie Monster lost it.
But D set him straight about waiting until after he'd finished his vegetables. And not eating all the cookies all at once or he'd "be sick all over the place." Sage advice, kiddo.
D is now really into Sea Lions so we ran over to catch the Clyde & Seymore show.
Finally, no holiday season would be complete without sending off Rudolph and Clarice. It was really bright, so Clarice helped D out.
I hope you all had a fantastic holiday season. We're definitely looking forward to turning down for January (although there are a few things brewing that might not make that a possibility). Happy New Year!