While we’re now a couple months returned from our historic trip to Disney, have since moved to Virginia and are somewhat settled into our new home, I didn’t want to end the reports on our Florida sagas without touching on some of the cool things we did. While it’s true that there was an awful lot of drama that came from traveling with the kids, unexpected illnesses and trips to the hospital, cramped quarters and extra stress due to our upcoming move, we still had a lot of fun. If you’ve read MB3 for a while, you’ll already know that I tend to play up the glass half full dramedy of it all, but that doesn’t mean we’re not having fun along the way. I’m told that we really are.
One of the coolest things we did in FL was at Hollywood Studios where the older boys signed up for Star Wars Jedi Training. This was part of the bigger Star Wars ride, which unfortunately was closed for relaunch this summer, but we still could do the training. My kindergartner, in particular, got a real kick out of training with a Jedi master on a light saber and battling with Darth Vader and Storm troopers. He even had his face painted like Darth Maul (which instantly became is younger brother’s favorite word to say). Here’s a video of the boys and their training session – it’s pretty cool, and the Jedi Master is very funny.
We also really enjoyed watching the Indiana Jones Stunt Show. I think it has been at Hollywood Studios for a while, but I was impressed with the size and scale of it all. It’s held in a several hundred seat outdoor covered amphitheatre with rotating sets, explosions, fire and excitement that had the boys on the edge of their seats. I had broken down a couple months back and allowed our oldest two boys to watch the majority of the first Indiana Jones movie. (minus the full scene where the guy gets chopped up in the airplane propeller, the full scene with all the snakes in the tomb, and the very end when the Ark is opened and all the bad guys’ faces melt – I didn’t feel like waking up in the middle of the night to deal with those nightmares…) It was fun seeing them really enjoy the movie since I can very clearly remember watching it as a boy too. It’s probably not as groundbreaking as it was back then with all the special effects in movies today, but still exciting.
Three of the other rides/activities that we really enjoyed with the boys were at the Magic Kingdom. We rode the jungle boat cruise ride, which seemed like it would be pretty slow but our boat tour guide was the funniest guy the whole week. I should have gotten his name because I think he might be appearing on Comedy Central doing stand up in a few years.
We also liked the Swiss Family Robinson tree house. We’d watched that Disney movie last year so they knew a bit about it, so it was fun to climb up the steps and see a re-creation from the movie set. When we got back home, we read the abridged classics version of Swiss Family Robinson at bedtime, which kept them very entertained.
Tom Sawyer’s Island was the other area that was surprisingly a lot of fun. The boys didn’t know much about Tom Sawyer when we were there, but after riding the raft to the island, exploring through Injun Joe’s Cave and climbing through the rope bridges and the Fort, they came home asking all about it, leading us to read the abridged Mark Twain classic at bedtime after we finished with Swiss. These old adventure stories are great for the boys and really gets their imagination going. I plan to buy several more in this Classic Starts series at the bookstore soon – if you haven’t tried that, Barnes & Noble sells the 100-page versions in hardcover for $5 or so.!
Of course we went on probably fifty other rides and attractions in our week at Disney that I haven’t mentioned. I’m sure the trip is something that the kids will always remember. I certainly remember my trip there as an eight year old nearly thirty years ago. It’s a tough balance as a parent to find the time, money and energy that’s required to create those kind of travel memories with the kids outside of the normal every day. It is important though, I think, to get out of the routine and cement things in their memories in a different way. Nonetheless, I think it is an even bigger challenge to help your kids paint memories and grow in experience and learning in their everyday lives. To open their eyes and enjoy each moment – something that’s hard to teach when struggling to do it yourself. Seizing the day. An idea that makes me think about how fun it will be to show them one of my favorite movies, Dead Poets Society, some day. But that’s probably at least a good five years away. For now, I think we’ll keep being Jedi.
(This was Part 3 in a series of posts on our Disney vacation – Read the rest at the links below!)
Death by Disney – Part 1: Getting There Wasn’t Half the Fun
Death by Disney – Part 2: The Yeti and the ER