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December 16th, 2018              

With the sale of their house in Michigan complete, Grandpa Gary & Grandma Terry were gracious enough to grant us a lifelong wish (well, my lifelong wish anyway!) and provide us with season passes to Walt Disney World. Today marked the first time that we were able to use them, and it was a special trip for us in more ways than one... in addition to getting to visit Disney for the first time in ages, we were able to do so with the entire family. Not only were Grandpa Gary & Grandma Terry there with us, but we were joined by Erica, Donovan, and Marissa. To make it even better, Tyler was in town before his trip to Germany, and his girlfriend Rose was also in town to join us. All in all it was a fantastic way to make some amazing Disney memories.

To get started we headed over to Disney's Contemporary Resort to recreate some photos from our last visit in 2009!

 

Miscellaneous Walt Disney World

Approaching the entrance to Walt Disney World!

Tara waiting as the tram approaches to take us to the Transportation and Ticket Center.

In the front row: Grandpa Gary Erica, Marissa, and Grandma Terry.

In the back row: Samantha, Tara, Jayden, and Donovan.

Selfie time!

In the front row: Drew, Rodney, Tyler, and Rose.

In the middle row: Grandpa Gary Erica, Marissa, and Grandma Terry.

In the back row: Samantha, Tara, Jayden, and Donovan.

Another group selfie.

In the front row: Drew, Rodney, Tyler, and Rose.

In the middle row: Grandpa Gary Erica, Marissa, and Grandma Terry.

In the back row: Samantha, Tara, Jayden, and Donovan.

The following pictures are from Disney's Contemporary Resort...

Jayden, Samantha, Drew and Tyler in the Mickey Mouse ears outside the report.

Another picture, but with Sam and Jay in the reverse locations.

Sam, Jay, Tara, Rodney, Drew, and Tyler...

...recreating this photo from 2009!

Sam, Jay, Terry, Rodney, Drew, and Rodney recreating this photo from 2009.

A close-up of Drew and Tyler in the ear...

...and making funny faces.

Sam and Jay climbing down from their ear.

Jay acting funny for the camera as Sam comes nearby.

Tyler picking up Jay and teasing her.

Tyler making a funny face.

Donovan, Grandpa Gary, Grandma Terry, and Marissa posing in Mickey's ears.

Donovan, Tyler, Drew, Sam, Jay, and Marissa.

Donovan, Tyler, Drew, Sam, Jay, and Marissa joined by Tyler's girlfriend Rose in the center.

A family photo - Rodney, Tara, Drew, Donovan, Tyler, Rose, Erica, Sam, Jay, Marissa, Grandma Terry, and Grandpa Gary.

A silly group photo!

Grandma Terry & Grandpa Gary sitting in Mickey's ears.

Donovan, Marissa, and Erica.

Tyler and Rose in Mickey's ears.

A close-up of Tyler as he walks his feet up the ears...

...and nearly folds himself in half!

Jay laying in an ear.

Tara and Rodney posing in Mickey's ears.

 

Since it was the only opportunity for Tyler and Rose to go with us on our passes, we let them choose which park we wanted to attend. Their request was Animal Kingdom, so we headed there after our pictures at Disney's Contemporary Resort. Our first stop of the day was at Pandora - The World of Avatar, where we rode the Avatar Flight of Passage ride. As a group we decided that the other rides in Pandora had lines that were longer than we wanted to wait in, so we then headed over to the Tree of Life to see the It's Tough to be a Bug! show. For reasons that are beyond my level of comprehension, both Marissa and Jayden hate this show. I think it is dated and due for an update, but certainly not scary in any way!

From the Tree of Life we headed over to ride the Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain rollercoaster. We really enjoyed this ride, though the line was certainly on the long side. As evening settled in we headed over to Dinoland U.S.A. with the intent of riding Primeval Whirl, but as we entered the line we decided that it would be a good idea to go to another park instead. We had one FastPass remaining, which was DINOSAUR. While some of us were on that ride, the others went to dig in The Boneyard.

 

Animal Kingdom

An ibis spotted inside the park...

...along with a duck seen nearby.

The Tree of Life in the center of the park.

Tyler and Jayden enjoying the scenery in Pandora - The World of Avatar.

Some more scenery from the Pandora - The World of Avatar section of the park...

 
 

Tyler and Rose taking in the views.

Another look at Tyler and Rose.

Some more scenery from Pandora - The World of Avatar...

 
 
 

And a few looks at the inside of the Avatar Flight of Passage queue...

 
 

A closer view of the Tree of Life.

Rose and Tyler in front of the Tree of Life.

Another view of Rose and Tyler in front of the Tree of Life.

Inside the Tree of Life is the It's Tough to be a Bug! show.

Another look at the Tree of Life.

A view of Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain from across the park.

Rose and Tyler messing around in The Boneyard.

A shot of Rose and Tyler in The Boneyard.

Some of the items that can be dug up in The Boneyard...

 

A couple more shots of Tyler and Rose in The Boneyard...

 
 

Tyler digging in The Boneyard, like this photo from 2004!

And now a few pictures of Jayden playing in The Boneyard...

 
 

The Tree of Life lit up at night.

The Animal Kingdom Christmas tree at the front of the park.

After leaving Animal Kingdom, we headed over to Epcot. Our first stop here was at Test Track, which we got through quickly thanks to Grandpa Gary's GM retiree badge. We all enjoyed this ride, speeding through the various automotive tests in our self-designed cars. After riding Test Track, we decided to separate, as Grandpa Gary, Grandma Terry, Erica, Donovan, and Marissa all headed home. We decided to get on one more ride, Mission: Space. This would be the final ride for us, as we decided to conclude our long day at that point.

We have to give a special thank you to Grandpa Gary & Grandma Terry for making this all possible. It was an amazing opportunity to spend the day together as a family in such an exciting place. Memories like these will never be forgotten! I love you all!

 

Epcot

Spaceship Earth as seen from the park entrance.

A Bambi topiary outside the park.

Chip and Dale topiaries.

Another look at Spaceship Earth, with the moon peeking out over the top.

Another view of Chip and Dale.

Thumper and Flower from Bambi.

Pluto and his doghouse.

One more look at Spaceship Earth.

A Mickey and Minnie topiary outside the entrance.

One last look at Spaceship Earth when leaving the park.


 

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