Day 206- Butterflies at Epcot

Today is beautiful and it is a hot 90 degrees this afternoon. There are beautiful clouds in the vibrant blue sky and a good breeze. The kids went to Epcot last weekend with some friends and they got to hold butterflies in the Butterflies on the Go Butterfly exhibit. It sounds so fun and so cool to get to hold a butterfly. So, we decide to go to Epcot because I want to get to hold a butterfly!

We enjoy our drive to Epcot. There is a light crowd as we arrive and go through the main parking gates. The parking attendant is filling in vacant spots near the front. That is great and will make our walk a lot closer.

As we walk to the entrance, we get our bags checked and MagicBands scanned. Now, we enter into Epcot and see the beautiful topiaries for the Flower and Garden Festival. Goofy eaters the plants while Pluto smiles and Daisy holds a fresh bouquet and greets you as you enter!

The first place I look for is the Butterflies on the Go exhibit, so we walk up around the right side of Spaceship Earth, pass Fountain View, and walk on around to see the butterfly exhibit.

As we walk in, we begin to look at all of the beautiful flowers and the little houses full of chrysalises. It is amazing to see the different stages that the chrysalises are in and even the ones that are empty. You can see various stages of the butterflies’ life cycles as you look at the flowers, chrysalises, and the butterflies.

I see someone holding a butterfly and I am so excited to see one this close. Soon, they are about to leave and they gently pass the little orange butterfly to us. I was so excited to hold a real, live butterfly!! It just sat there on my pointer finger and I could just look at it for a little while. Then, I handed it to the kids. They have held one before, but this is the coolest thing I have ever done! Soon, we have several families gathering and I ask if they would like to hold this butterfly. These butterflies are so cool! You just gently put a finger in front of their tiny legs, and they crawl right on to your finger. Please, whatever you do, try not to touch their wings, as they are very delicate, and there are signs to remind of this. It is too cool to feel their little feet crawl onto your finger!

I had just handed it off when we tried to catch another one, and a mom called me the “butterfly whisperer” and then three landed on me. It was SO cool!

I am watching these kids enjoying the butterfly when I hear a little guy say, “Oh, there is a caterpillar!” in the best British accent. You really can see every stage of a butterfly’s life in here! I ask his dad if his son would like to hold the butterfly, and he is so appreciative. Then, Twinkie sees his older brother is trying to catch one with one of the KidCot paper Duffys. She let him know that his little brother is holding a butterfly, and maybe his brother would let him hold it if he wanted to. He jumps up and goes to hold the butterfly.

The kids hand it back to me and I show the next little one how to get the butterfly to walk onto her pointer finger. Her dad is so excited and takes her picture. Then, her brother wants to hold it, so they ask if I can help them. I am so happy to show them how to transfer the gorgeous orange butterfly from one pointer finger to the next. The smiles on their faces as they get to share the butterfly with someone show how truly magical this moment is. Soon, they are leaving and another family comes up and asks for help learning how to transfer a butterfly from one person to the next. This is so much fun!

The last family actually sat down in a group and got a picture with their young son holding the butterfly! Everyone is all smiles and it makes for a beautiful, absolutely amazing picture. A little girl stops me and wanted to show me all of the butterflies flying around the top of the butterfly exhibit. That is so sweet. So, I ask the little girl’s parents if they would like to hold the butterfly. The young son was more than glad to hand the butterfly off to her. She is so excited and her parents snap a few pictures of her. Then, there was a grandmother that isn’t sure how to get to hold it, so I show her to put her pointer finger in front of the butterfly and gently move it to let the butterfly step onto her finger with its front feet, and then lightly turn her finger to help it step its back legs onto her pointer. They are so excited!

Amazement and awe fills the faces of young and old, of moms and dads, and even of grandparents as they experience the delight and joy of getting to hold a delicate butterfly. As I am getting ready to leave, there is a young pre-teen girl sitting so still; she has been there for a while and starting to look disappointed. I ask her if she wanted to hold a butterfly. She said, “Yes,” and sounded a little disappointed. So, I told her that there is a dad in the red shirt, and a dad in the blue checked shirt holding a butterfly. We walk over and her mom is so excited that they will get to hold a butterfly. A dad handed off the butterfly to me, so I turned and helped her get the butterfly on her pointer finger! Her mom’s eyes lit up and she started taking pictures of her.

This was the most rewarding day. I love seeing so many visitors get to hold these precious butterflies. To see the gracious sharing of these little butterflies from one family to the next is so cool. I was so grateful that someone shared a butterfly with me. I wish everyone could experience this amazing adventure.

Well, I need to get something cold to drink, so we go the Fountain View to get some Starbucks coffee and tea. I get an iced tea lemonade on this hot evening. We get our coffees and teas and find a place to sit for a minute to cool down. There is a great spot in the shade where we can watch the fountain water dance to the music.

Soon, we head for the front gates and walk a short distance to our car. It was a fabulous evening with all of the butterflies. Good night, Epcot, we had so much fun today!

Day 153- Animal Kingdom & the Tree of Life

Today is beautiful! There’s not a cloud in the sky. It’s a bit chilly today, but the breeze is soft. It is 63 degrees and the sun is so bright! I think we will head for Animal Kingdom on this perfect day. As we get to the entrance for parking, I am surprised that there are 3 cars in each of the lines. We get through the parking entrance and notice that the parking lots are full.

As we get around the long driveway, we see that they are parking in an area that has not been used on any of the days that we’ve come these past few months. Soon, I realize that all of the parking is almost full! We park and walk to the entrance. We get our bags checked, scan our MagicBands, and enter into the main gates. Tonight Animal Kingdom is open until 8:00 P.M.

We go around the Oasis where there are many animals that you can watch. It is so cool to see the unusual birds and animals. It is beautifully green as you walk up the walkway. We walk across the bridge to Discovery Island, and that is when we notice the amazing amount of people who are here today.

One of our quests today is to see the new additions to the Tree of Life! We heard that they had finished the new carvings and I can hardly wait to get to see them! As we approach the area in front of the Tree of Life, it is bustling with people taking turns getting pictures in the midst of these new “roots.” They are fabulous! The detail in the deer and its antlers are so wonderful. There are several animals, including an elephant, a buffalo, and even a Komodo dragon! It is amazing and the detail is fabulous.

We tried to get some Fastpass+ before we came, but now that we are here, I can see why the attractions we were interested in didn’t have any availability today. It is the busiest I have seen Animal Kingdom! We checked wait times, and they are all very busy,

The next stop for us is coffee at the Royal Anandapur Tea Company. The line is very long, but it will be worth the wait. We order the Cupid’s Kiss, an espresso drink with milk, chocolate, caramel, and coconut, topped with whipped cream. It was amazing! Oh, Happy Valentine’s Day!

After we get our coffees, we walk over to Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, where we find a nice bench to sit on and drink coffee as we watch the roller coaster speed by.

We had not talked to very many people today. It seems that everyone has been busy and focused. But then, a young mom and her little one sat near us. The little one was having a meltdown since she was too little to ride Expedition Everest. I said, “Hi, I love your sweater!” and the little one got quiet as she munched on her Mickey Ice Cream Bar. Soon, she was happily talking, telling us all about her dad and brother riding Expedition Everest. She was so cute! We soon said our goodbyes and she was smiling.

We went around past Finding Nemo the Musical. A little ways down the path, you can find DinoLand USA. It is a fun place for kid’s rides, but we will stay to the right and continue around.

There are still so many people everywhere we go. I am just amazed. We are choosing to search for pins to see if there are some we want to trade. Soon, we find that we can go back toward the Oasis and search for pins near the entrance. So, we turn that way and make it to the front of Animal Kingdom.

As we are leaving, it seems that there are almost as many people coming into the park as there are leaving. It is busy, but so much fun. We figure out that it is perfect timing for us to go home since the sun is going down and the wind is kicking up. It is getting chilly really fast! Goodnight, Animal Kingdom, it has been a good afternoon!

Day 152- Hollywood Studios

Today is absolutely beautiful! We are off to enjoy the weather and Hollywood Studios! We get to the parking lot and park close enough to walk to the front entrance. There is a soft, lightly busy bustle as people are coming and going. We get our bags checked and our MagicBands scanned. The security guard mentions to us that when the sun goes down, it will get chilly fast. What a nice tip for later!

The sunshine is so pretty bouncing off of the Art Deco-inspired buildings on Hollywood Boulevard. The beautiful buildings on this street are so amazing. It is like you are transported back in time!

We get pictures of the progress as Mickey’s Sorcerer’s hat is being dismantled. I am excited to see the changes coming to Hollywood Studios, and it will be nice to be able to see The Great Movie Ride from down the street!

Now, time for coffee at the Trolley Car Café! It is so nice to have Starbucks Coffee here in such a fun and amazing building. It is worth stopping in for a moment to see the interior of the building; it is full of so much detail of that era and decorated like a trolley station! I love the display full of cupcakes, sandwiches, and other goodies! We meet the mom and daughter in front of us. They are on a mother/daughter trip and are having a wonderful time! The mom asked us if we were on a mother/daughters trip. I smiled and said that we were having a great time here at Disney, it is so much fun!

We got our coffee and were off to find a place to sit for a few minutes. We chose to go to tables near the vintage looking ship at Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner. Today is a bit chilly, so hot coffees and chai teas are perfect.

After a few minutes, we finish our coffee, and stop in to Keystone Clothiers to check on a Minnie Mouse scarf. We see the beautiful Minnie Mouse items they are carrying this season. There are so many cute purses, clothes, and scarves, but not the particular one that I am thinking of getting. While we are in the store, the kids do some pin trading.

I think we are going to call it a fast trip. The sun is beginning to set, and the wind is picking up, so it is getting cold quickly. We walk out to our car and enjoy the last bit of sunlight for the day. We had a blast at Hollywood Studios today!

Day 150- Magic Kingdom & SpaceX

Today is a beautiful day! We see so many ibis and turkeys walking along the road near Magic Kingdom. I love the wildlife! Sometimes we can see deer blending into the landscape. It is absolutely beautiful day! As we leave the house, it says it is 65 degrees and feels like 71; that is going to be perfect.

We arrive at the Transportation and Ticket Center, park, and catch the tram to the Monorail. There are several fun people on the tram. We reach the drop off point and walk to the Monorail. It is fairly busy and the Monorail is full as we take off to Magic Kingdom. We do have one stop at the Contemporary Resort on the way today.

As we walk to the entrance, I hear a family talking about the Flag Retreat Ceremony and how Disney honors our veterans every day. The Flag Retreat Ceremony is incredible. I love being able to watch it!

We get our bags checked, MagicBands scanned, and enter into Magic Kingdom. The sun is so beautiful as it shines down onto the Victorian-styled buildings. It is so beautiful! I can see Cinderella’s Castle as we head down Main Street USA. We stop into the lightly busy Main Street Bakery for a cup of coffee. It is fun seeing every getting sandwiches and bakery items to go with their coffee!

After we got our coffees, I had to go back in for a minute, and as I came out, I could not see my kids anywhere! I scanned faces across the street. Then, I turned and scanned up the street and down the street, but no sign of my kids. So, I stopped, pulled out my phone and texted them. Almost instantly, I hear Tooti’s voice. They had found the cutest little spot to sit and drink coffee. I had to laugh since I thought it was down a ways from here. Plus, they were laughing so hard that I had to think it was funny!

Since there are 3 of us, we walked to find a table where we could sit and have our coffee. As we walk, we pass the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor; it is fun seeing all of the beautiful ice cream creations—some of them even have Mickey ears on them! I pass by a grandma enjoying a milkshake, I had to stop and tell her how cute she is sitting there enjoying her milkshake! She started laughing and got the cutest twinkling eyes. I love seeing the kid come out in everyone here at Disney!

We find a table and take a moment to enjoy our coffee. We talk about our day and what we are up to. As we are talking, I see a young dad bringing 2 of the cute Mickey Ice Cream Cones for his little ones. The little princesses are surprised and begin eating their perfect little treats.

The breeze has a chill to it, but it is nice as we are finishing up. We head back to Main Street USA and see the new Minnie purses through the doorway at the Emporium. Detour! We must see these cute purses, backpacks, and shirts that are now in the Emporium.  I love Minnie Mouse clothes and accessories!

We make our way through the Emporium until we are back on Main Street USA. As we enter into Town Square, I notice a line of people. As we start past them, I hear one of the cast members telling a joke, so I stop and see that there is an empty spot in the line. I step into that spot and ask the young teen if they are in trouble or something. He looked at me, started laughing, and said, “Yes! And my Mom is in this line too!” His mom saw us laughing and he let her in on the joke! She thought that was great. Then, my kids stepped closer and we all had a grand time. Twinkie was giving us some trivia about the cast member’s blue nametag. So, I asked Twinkie to take my spot and ask the cast member about his blue nametag so we could all hear about how he got it and celebrate with him. So, she asked and the cast member had a blast telling us about the story behind his blue nametag (long story short, it means that the cast member is super awesome!). What fun!

Then, I could hear the dance party parade, well, it is called Move it! Shake it! Dance it! Play it! The line of people became the front row and got to see the parade enter into Town Square. Everyone was dancing and having fun, from the little kids to the grandparents!

We checked a few more pins for trading on the way to the Monorail. We had so much fun today enjoying the park and the wonderful people who come to Disney! I love seeing so many folks smiling and I am so glad to help them get family pictures.

Once we arrive at the Transportation and Ticket Center, we begin to walk out to our car, when we glance up to see a rocket and a trail of smoke! We stop for pictures, as we realize that this is the NASA SpaceX launch! A young couple stopped beside me to watch with us, and said that there was a launch today. I thought they both had high voices, until the young man lowered his voice and explained that they had been talking in character voices all day. He wished he could do the voice of Mickey Mouse! We all laughed as he demonstrated his Mickey Mouse voice, and his girlfriend spoke in her best Minnie voice. They were too much fun!

What a fun day at Disney!

Day 87- Magic Kingdom and Meeting Scoop Sanderson

Today we were going to have a quick trip to Disney’s Magic Kingdom. But, we were having so much fun that it turned into a much longer trip. The sun is shining and the wind is blowing. We park, ride the tram to the Ticket and Transportation Center, get to the Monorail and it is packed! After two Monorails come, fill up, and leave, we get to board and head to Magic Kingdom. It is beautiful today!

We arrive and there are so many people! We see that the ferryboat has arrived, just as our Monorail is unloading. Happily, there are so many security guards to check bags, that the lines only have about five people in each line. Really, it doesn’t take too long. We wait a bit to scan our Magic Bands, but the lines here move quickly too, and it isn’t bad at all.

As we step through the gates, we are near the Mickey Mouse in the front garden, in front of the Train Station. I get a picture of Tooti with the poinsettia Mickey and the train, just as it pulls into the station! As we enter Main Street USA, we see Hildegard Olivia Harding, one of the fabulous Citizens of Main Street! We are instantly translated to this era as she says, “We are so close, ladies, we are so close! Soon we’ll win the right to vote!” Oh my, I had forgotten that it hasn’t been that long since we women didn’t have the right to VOTE! It is the coolest feeling to see her fighting for our right to VOTE! Women, we need to appreciate those who have fought for our rights.

We run into the Uptown Jewelers shop to see if they have seen Scoop Sanderson. No, but they told us to look for (boy, do I feel like a kid right now!) the Dapper Dans, and Scoop should be near them. However, do be sure to give the Dapper Dans a proper greeting so they won’t be too let down that we are looking for Scoop and not for them. OK! We step back out to Main Street USA and search for Scoop Sanderson. Twinkie is the funniest thing when she is on a mission. She gets focused, waves, and hop-skips when she sees him! Oh, look! She finds him. He is very entertaining to get to meet and to visit with! We were laughing so much.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY SCOOP! What a character he is. We have a nice chat with Scoop who graciously lets us trade pins with him. Scoop is so nice! He’s one of the most fun characters to meet in Magic Kingdom, do be sure to look for him on your next visit!

Now, we are going for our coffee at Starbucks. It is very nice and not so busy right at this moment! We see another Citizen of Main Street! She is at the Main Street Bakery and browsing the pastries in the case. She is adorable to watch as we listen to her vintage speaking patterns. What a treat to get to see a Citizen in the Main Street Bakery! We get our coffees and are having lunch for breakfast. 😀 As we head back down Main Street USA, we get in front of Tony’s and The Chapeau. I take a moment to look at the green building on the end. As I do, I see the early 1900s Main Street USA, and off in the distance I see Space Mountain. It is like the past is right beside me, and in the distance is the futuristic Space Mountain. Walt Disney grew up in this era that Main Street USA is set in, and he dreamed about the future that we live in. Amazing.

We have reservations for Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. The dining room is so very cozy and beautiful to sit in. They have the best gluten free spaghetti and meatballs! We are seated quickly and our waiter is very nice. We have our drinks, and soon the Chef comes out to let us know what is gluten free, they can even do gluten free turkey meatballs! We will have two of the spaghetti and meatballs, and one chicken Caesar salad. We were totally surprised that our food came out so fast! Our waiter added the grated cheese, and we were ready to taste our first bite.

It was the most awesome spaghetti and meatballs that I have had in months! I could not believe how wonderfully awesome the flavors are. Our table got really quiet as we were savoring each bite. We are smiling and our faces say it all; it is so good! Definitely, this will be on our “best places to eat” list! The service was great.

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin is our next stop for a FastPass+. As we made out way to Tomorrowland, I noticed that I had never realized that the supports for the PeopleMover are shaped like spaceship legs that look like they could telescope up if the “spaceship” ever needed to take off. COOLEST thing ever!

The FastPass+ line for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin is very, very long. When we finally entered the building, the little girl in front of us was crying a little bit, and her parents were trying to cheer her up. She was about 10. I smiled at her mom and I asked the little girl, “Hey, do you want to beat your Dad’s points?” She said a soft, “What?” Her mom was listening, and she said that I asked if she would like to beat her dad. The girl gave a little smile and said, “Yes.” I looked at Twinkie as I said, “There are some targets that have high points.” Twinkie filled in the details. The girl was so happy and cheered up! I also said that she should hug her dad after she beats his score! She laughed and her mom was also laughing. Tooti got Galactic Hero and claimed her badge.

We walk around, through Tomorrowland and towards Fantasyland. We see the Fairy Godmother as we turn towards Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel. We step into Sir Mickey’s gift shop to check pins. Now, we make our way around Cinderella’s Castle. When the shows are going on in front of the castle, they close off the path through the castle. Never fear! There are paths on wither side of the castle that will take you around. It takes a little longer, but on our way down (facing the back of the castle, we went to the right) we could see Peter Pan running onto the stage. Smee and Captain Hook are hiding out on the bridge from the castle to the stage and Smee is waving at all of us as we pass down the path to the front of the castle. It is so cool!

We enjoy browsing the shops as we head back to the front entrance. I love seeing the Christmas decorations within each shop! I love Christmas at Disney! Well, time to go home for the day. It is a very sunny day, and it was a very pleasant day at Disney!