47 square miles of fun in 2011 (part 1)

When Baby M and I arrived in Orlando, we were quickly whisked away to the off-property condo that we were staying at by Mr. M, and shortly embarked on a venture to the Magic Kingdom. After a quick lunch (with what seemed like millions of people – seriously, the charm of small eateries in Disneyland is totally lacking here), we went on Baby M’s VERY FIRST RIDE EVER…. Pirates!

2011 - January - Walt Disney World

“Ahoy Dad! There be squalls ahead!”

She was pretty mesmerized by the entire experience, and definitely clung tight during the strange flume drop! So how do we follow up this weird trip to the Carribean? By jumping on a tour through the Jungle!!

2011 - January - Walt Disney World

This cruise was the first chance for us to all experience “waiting in line with a baby.” Thank goodness there were 5 sets of arms to hold her, because let me tell you that 24 lbs of squirmy baby is a lot to hold!

2011 - January - Walt Disney World

On this ride, she was a bit more alert and started to get the hang of seeing strange and weird things. We heard quite a few “Was Dat?” whispered throughout the ride… especially when the elephants and hippos were out. I have to tell you that the backside of water was insanely fascinating to this 10-month old little girl!

OK… so Adventureland was taken in check, and we quickly learned that Dad’s should always be in charge of changing diapers on a crowded day… not Moms. (more on this later) Now it was time to head to the land designed for the wee ones… Fantasyland!

And what was our stop for the evening? Why, Dumbo of course!

Baby M’s lovey is a Dumbo taggy blanket that she picked out at the wee age of 4 months. Nothing in the entire store elicited a response, but she squealed with delight when I picked it up way back when… and it’s been her favorite item ever since. I’m pretty certain she made no connection whatsoever with the flying contraption and her blanket, especially since his nose wasn’t available as a chewing toy, but she had fun nonetheless.

2011 - January - Walt Disney World

So… judging from the fun of Day 1 in Adventureland, we figured it would be good to expose her to some real animals instead of just the fake ones. And thus we headed off to the Animal Kingdom…

2011 - January - Walt Disney World

Despite the warning that all of the Christmas décor comes down after January 2nd, we pretty much still saw it in every park we visited through the 7th. I have to say that it’s all very beautiful and the scale is just astonishing!

We sent Baby M off to explore the underground Bugs Life friends with Grandma and Grandpa M… while we attacked Expedition Everest!

2011 - January - Walt Disney World

Something tells me my Mom was a little less than thrilled to be visiting the Yeti for a 2nd time (the crew had been on the ride just a few days prior to my arrival).

2011 - January - Walt Disney World

The Animal Kingdom is my favorite “Imagineered” park hands down. You see the detail everywhere, and nothing looks like it’s from the western world! I adore this sign in the gift shop outside of Everest… and of course, I adore “Ye-Tea.” (I will somehow figure out how to have a mountain climbing party where I can dig out that AWESOME play on words for a favor or something!)

Baby M got to go on an Asian tiger tour and then we hopped on the van for her first safari EVER! And this time it was the REAL elephants that got “Was Dat?’ over and over again.

2011 - January - Walt Disney World


For dinner that night, we headed to the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s newest restaurant, Sanaa (which, in Swahili, means “work of art”). Of course, they’ve got their own savanna and animals just outside the window panes!


“Giraffes are nifty Dad!”