Little Loves: October 2017

This month’s Little Loves post was always going to be all about our family trip to Florida.  It feels strange to be writing that when I remember that September’s post was written whilst I was in Denver, Colorado for Leap Retreat.  Considering we haven’t been abroad for four years, to have been able to say yes to two incredible adventures in the space of a month seems more than a little crazy to me and I am immensely grateful for the experiences we’ve had – it’s certainly a very long way from our ‘normal’ life and I’ve been doing my best to embrace it all and soak up as much of it as I possibly could.  September and October have involved a lot of travel and so much busy-ness with work, home and school that I’m actually quite looking forward to a slower November just to gather myself together and recharge before the Christmas madness begins in December.

We’ve only been home from Florida for a couple of days and I think we’re all still processing the experience we had together.  The jet lag is totally worth it for the fun we had – we packed so much into the ten days we were there and we still didn’t see even half of what Florida has to offer – it’s definitely going to require a repeat trip in a few years time.  It’s been a long-anticipated holiday we’ve been saving up for over the course of the last few years and it was a very much-needed break from our regular routine.

So, without further ado, here are all the little (Florida-related!) things I’ve been loving lately throughout October…

READ

It’s become a bit of a tradition of mine to buy a Lonely Planet guidebook whenever we visit somewhere new.  The first thing I did after booking our trip way back in January was to order the ‘Pocket Orlando and Walt Disney World Resort’ guidebook and tuck it away ready to read nearer the time of our holiday.  Once we’d told the girls about our upcoming adventure (we managed to keep it a secret for nine whole months!) and I didn’t have to hide it any more, I spent every spare minute I could reading through it, marking helpful pages and making notes of useful tips, places we wanted to explore and things we could do whilst we were there.

The My Disney Experience app was also immensely useful, even if I did only start using it about a week before we travelled.  It allowed me to read about and research each park individually – which rides were where, which characters could be found in each park, the different restaurants we could try out and all the magical experiences we could have.   I also re-read all of Mummy Daddy Me’s Disney blogs from their last couple of visits to Orlando – her photos are beautiful and it got me so excited for our own adventures there.

 

WATCHED

Disney is a full-on experience, there’s no doubt about that.  The amount of things you can do, rides you can go on and experiences you can have is, quite simply, mind-blowing.  We watched so many shows while we were there:

~  the ‘IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth’ firework spectacular at Epcot;

~  the ‘Festival of Fantasy’ parade and ‘Happily Ever After’ fireworks display at the Magic Kingdom;

~  the ‘For the First Time in Forever’ Frozen sing-a-long celebration and ‘Star Wars: A Galaxy Far Far Away’ live stage shows at Hollywood Studios;

~  the ‘Festival of the Lion King’ musical, ‘Flights of Wonder’ bird display and ‘Rivers of Light’ night time spectacular at Animal Kingdom.

And that’s just giving a few examples!  It’s impossible to pick a favourite – they were all incredible in their own unique ways.

Tinkerbell at the Festival of Fantasy parade

Cinderella’s Castle during the Happily Ever After fireworks show

Anna, Elsa and Kristoff on stage during the ‘Frozen’ show

I also watched the girls grow in confidence in the swimming pool whilst we were there.  We don’t take them swimming very often here in the UK and, whilst they’ve had private lessons in the past and the eldest two go swimming with school during the summer term, none of them are particularly confident in the water.  We stayed in a villa with a private pool at the fantastic (and brand new) Balmoral Resort, so on our quieter ‘rest days’ in between the busy days at the parks the girls spent time playing in the pool and practising their swimming – Ella and Mimi were soon jumping in and trying out swimming underwater.  And whilst Lola rarely strayed from the side of the pool to begin with (clinging on to the edge for dear life bless her), after a few days Daddy had her swimming a length of the pool with only a bit of help.  The resort also had a gorgeous communal pool and water park of it’s own so we spent a couple of mornings there as well.

The girls enjoying the pool at our villa

The beautiful swimming pool at Balmoral Resort

Lola loving the waterslide at Balmoral Resort

 

HEARD

We heard pretty much every single Disney song ever created whilst we were there.  It’s impossible not to get caught up in the magic of it all, it just surrounds you wherever you go – in every shop, every show, every speaker in the street.  I’m still humming ‘Hakuna Matata’ and ‘Let It Go’ now!

The villa we stayed in was a little way out of Orlando and it took us about 40 minutes in the car to get to the parks each day.  Thankfully we managed to find a good radio station – Mix 100.7fm – which played songs from the 90’s through to now.  I was in my element when they played the Goo Goo Dolls’ ‘Slide’ and Lifehouse’s ‘Hanging By A Moment’, neither of which I’ve heard for absolutely ages (though the girls weren’t impressed!).

And, of course, we heard the American accent wherever we went. I love it, and the girls were fascinated by it, trying to mimic it and asking what the English/American equivalent of certain words were.  We all got used to using ‘restroom’ and ‘fries’ and ‘elevator’ pretty quickly.

 

MADE

It’s going to sound like such a cliché but we made the most magical memories during our time in Florida.  Meeting Mickey Mouse himself was a pretty special experience and seeing the girls’ faces light up when they got to meet each of their favourite characters was just wonderful to witness.

Meeting Mickey Mouse! 🙂

I bought the girls a personalised book each for them to use to collect character autographs whilst we were there, and they all decided to make it into a sort of scrapbook, sticking in tickets and dollar bills and photographs as well as writing about their experiences.  I love that they chose to do that – it’ll be a keepsake that they’ll have forever to look back on and remember all the things we did together.

The girls with their autograph books

 

WORE

It’s pretty much compulsory at Disney World to wear Mickey/Minnie Mouse ears and TShirts.  In fact, I’d go as far as saying that it’s an unwritten rule.  We wore these ears almost consistently the whole time we were there, whichever park we happened to be visiting.  The Mickey ears were supposed to be for my husband but Mimi refused to wear the Minnie Mouse ones (“too girly”) and so she wore the Mickey ones instead.   It’s a good job he’s so chilled out and doesn’t mind things like this!

It was so lovely to be able to wear shorts and TShirts after a fairly rubbish English summer.  The heat and sunshine felt so good!  It was incredibly hot in Florida – even during the second half of October – with temperatures hitting 30 degrees celcius and the humidity reaching 97% on some days.  I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like during the summer months – this was pretty much perfect for us.

All of us wearing our Minnie/Mickey Mouse ears on the way to the Magic Kingdom for the first time!

 

AND FINALLY…

There are, of course, going to be sooooo many blog posts all about our trip, so I’ll apologise in advance for that.  For now, a couple of my favourite photos from our time in Florida…

The iconic entrance to Walt Disney World – the magic begins as soon as you enter!

I love this one of Sophie and Lola looking at Cinderella’s Castle

A performance outside Cinderella’s Castle

Halloween decorations were everywhere in the Magic Kingdom!

Drying off in the sun after a swim in the resort pool

This might just be my new favourite photo 🙂

I loved Hollywood Studios when we visited – there’s just something about 1950’s America that really appeals to me

October has been spectacular, to say the least.  It’s not been without it’s challenges of course, because it turns out that keeping six very different people happy is actually pretty tough, especially when one doesn’t like the food, another is terrified of fireworks, a third isn’t a fan of the heat, one wants to explore some different places outside of the parks, someone else wants to swim in the pool all day and the last one isn’t too keen on crowds…(!) In the end though it didn’t matter – we compromised, we made sure everyone did something they wanted to do and we ended up having a brilliant time.  November has a lot to live up to 🙂

Linking up with Coffee Work Sleep Repeat’s ‘Little Loves’ link:

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16 Comments

  • Reply October 28, 2017

    Jenny

    What a magical #litfleloves babes so beautiful in every way and those experiences and memories that will last forever and ever made there. It’s amazing feeling there so positive and happy. I loved it growing up. Can’t wait one day to take my two. #wrc
    Jenny recently posted…Halloween Snack Mix RecipeMy Profile

    • Reply October 31, 2017

      Chloe Ridgway

      Oh Jenny we had the best time! It was really hard work and there were lots of challenges along the way but it was totally worth it for the fun we had and the memories we made.

  • Wow what a month! You have some incredible photos to look back on and amazing memories too I’m sure. I can imagine you’re ready for a restful November though x #LittleLoves
    Kimberley | Oh Just My Little Blog recently posted…Pumpkins, a Christmas Jumper and Better Call Saul #LittleLovesMy Profile

    • Reply October 31, 2017

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thank you Kimberley 🙂 We do have some memories that will last forever for sure. I’m definitely looking forward to a quiet November 🙂

  • Reply October 29, 2017

    Angela Webster

    Wow what an amazing adventure you have had, your photo’s are amazing too. #LittleLoves

    • Reply October 31, 2017

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thank you Angela! It really was a trip of a lifetime for us. We’d love to go back as there were quite a few things that we didn’t get to see or do, but it’s going to take us a while to save up again!

  • I’ve been looking forward to reading his post and seeing your gorgeous pictures of your magical time in Orlando and it hasn’t disappointed. Wow those pictures of the castle are just phenomenal. You sure have had a busy time and I’m sure it’ll take you some time to get over your amazing holiday but your memories and pictures will last a lifetime xx
    Heledd – Running in Lavender recently posted…Autumn Walks and Winter CoatsMy Profile

    • Reply October 31, 2017

      Chloe Ridgway

      Oh Heledd the Castle was incredible! We had such a busy two weeks but it was worth every single second x

  • Reply October 30, 2017

    Kerri-Ann

    What a fun little loves Chloe. Lovely post and I am so glad that you all enjoyed your time there x
    Kerri-Ann recently posted…#MyFamilyAdventures – OctoberMy Profile

    • Reply October 31, 2017

      Chloe Ridgway

      It was hard work Kerri-Ann, I won’t lie. Totally worth it though! We had an amazing time and made memories that will last a lifetime x

  • Reply November 1, 2017

    Sarah Christie

    Aw it looks just amazing, I Love Disney you can just feel the magic in the air its so incredible, I am so glad you all loved it there, there is so much to take in isn’t there? But its when you come home and start to analyse it it hits you just what an incredible time you have had x

    • Reply November 18, 2017

      Chloe Ridgway

      That’s exactly it Sarah – it feels like quite hard work whilst you’re there (fun too of course!) but once you get home it hits you just how amazing it was!

  • Reply November 2, 2017

    Kerry

    Oh I am so jealous!! I really want to go there. I think the kids would love it. I can imagine it would be exhausting though xxx
    Kerry recently posted…3 Things You Need in Your November LifeMy Profile

    • Reply November 18, 2017

      Chloe Ridgway

      It was pretty full on I have to admit! You definitely need rest days in between the park days for sure. It’s totally worth it though – everything everyone says about the magic is absolutely true.

  • Reply November 2, 2017

    Morgana

    OH WOW!! This is the dream. We’ve done Disneyland Paris but my girls and I are desperate to go to Florida. It looks like you’ve all had a wonderful time there and made so many memories. xx

    • Reply November 18, 2017

      Chloe Ridgway

      Oh Morgana it really was beyond anything I expected! We saved for years to be able to do it and it was totally worth it. You and your girls would love it there.

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