Mickey's Sorcerer's Hat: The icon for the Hollywood Studios park. In the foreground to the left you'll see Derek and Hyrum with his backpack leash on that my mother in law so nervously got for him. It was really nice of her to get for him but he didn't wear it that much( I was wishing he'd been wearing it with it attached to my arm when I lost him in the Boneyard of course). Most of the time he spent in the stroller where he couldn't wear it and even when he was not in the stroller he had at least two cousins running around with him.

It's strange to have a leash on a child...at least it didn't look like one and he liked wearing it.

One of the funnest things we did at Hollywood studios was the magic hours dance party. Magic hours ( for those of you who don't know) are extra park hours only for people who stay at Disney resorts. When my sisters told me about a kids dance party I couldn't imagine that it would be as great as they said but Hyrum L O V E D it. And it totally looked and felt like a dance club. They even had guys stationed at the door who looked like, although I'm sure they were not, bouncers. They played good music and the kids got balloon hats and swords and even got to dance with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and the little Einstiens. Hyrum wasn't too excited about the characters but he was ALL ABOUT the dancing and the balloons.

Afterwards of course there had to be a balloon sword fight with the cousins, after they got back from going on Rock n' Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror.

And a picture with all of the cousins and their balloon objects
This is the day that we went to three different parks and got back to the room at midnight. Doesn't look like Hyrum was suffering much though. He'd usually take a quick cat nap at dinner and then be up for all of the rest of the festivities. He's a trooper.

For some reason I never really felt like I knew where I was going in this park. We were so glad that my sister Holly and her family let us follow them around like lost puppies. If you've never gone to Walt Disney World before I recommend tagging along with someone who has, for your first time. It is a very big place.

By far Hyrum's favorite ride at this park HAD to be Toy Story Midway Mania. It is a 3D interactive ride where you basically play fair shooting games. It is very much like the video game that's out there ( which Hyrum coincidentally got from Santa this year) For some reason whenever we picked up our 3D glasses we always put them on immediately. We were probably some of the only nerds wearing our 3D glasses when we weren't on the ride but it never stopped us.

We didn't get a chance to go on this ride nearly as much as Hyrum would have liked because the lines were always soo long. Fast passes disappeared very quickly.

Hollywood studios felt a lot like California Adventure for all of you who are more familiar with the LAND of Disney rather than the WORLD. They have a lot of behind the scenes rides where they let you in on some movie magic. Some of our favorites were: Studios Backlot tours
Look familiar to anyone?

Lights, Motors, Action ( where we learned the tricks to stunt driving )
Hyrum thought it was a little loud. But he still really liked it.
They don't have the Indiana Jones ride at Walt Disney World, but they do have the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular where they actually take volunteers from the audience to be in the scene they put on. A little taste...

They also had Streets of America Movie set that looks like a city somewhere they also had a snowy part of town complete with a snowman.
At night they had the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, which was THE most amazing Christmas light show I've EVER seen. I only got footage of it on the camcorder and I don't know how to put them online so you'll just have to go on youtube or take my word for it.

We were also able to meet some REAL stars along the way. Hyrum was a little star struck

They didn't say much either...I think they were a little starstruck themselves :)

Another thing we were looking forward to Hyrum experiencing at Hollywood Studios was the Star Tours area. We weren't able to get a picture with the AT-AT but he did get his ride on the speeder bike.

He looks comfortable don't you think? We also got to see a bit of the Jedi Academy. Hyrum wasn't old enough to participate and there was a long line to get a chance at being chosen anyway but he loved watching the young padawans hone their skills with a lightsaber. The jedi master was hilarious and I even saw my sister ( who gets headaches whenever anyone even mentions anything sci fi) laughing along.

While we were waiting for the big kids and our boys to be done with Star Tours we went into Tatooine traders, a Star Wars themed store. Hyrum immediately found little lightsabers and would duel anyone who would play along. He was absolutely among friends in that area of the park. He even got his auntie Holly to play along. That was something I hadn't expected with my little boy...he LOVES to shop! He was always begging to go look at the stores ( the toys ). He's got a little Mema Wadsworth blood.

Probably the best thing we did at Hollywood studios was go to Fantasmic all together. It is an impressive production

They projected these images up on sprays of water.

But the best thing about this was just being together! Hyrum didn't even get scared of this with his cousins beside him.

My sister Holly bought these shirts for both of these boys and my sister Nikki and I both chose to put them on them on the same day just by chance!

We were able to get the sisters picture that we always try to take when we're together.
Sunny (youngest) - Nikki (oldest) - Holly (middle)

I love my sisters! What would I do without them?

This is the Tree of Life: The icon for the Animal Kingdom park.

This park is like the best city zoo you can think of on steroids. :) One day we got there before my sister and her family so we just wandered around and found all these amazing little byways leading to random animals. Hyrum just ran from one to the next. Not only that but everything is just so LUSH, GREEN and BEAUTIFUL everywhere you look.

The park is divided, as most of them are, into little areas. The Oasis ( where we found all of the fun byways), Camp Minnie-Mickey, Discovery Island, Africa, Asia and Dinoland USA. Probably our favorite show at Disney World was at Animal Kingdom...Festival of the Lion King! Here's a little taste of it.

We also had fun waiting for the show to begin...

That was one of the strangest things. Walking around in shorts and a tee shirt surrounded in a Disney themed fantasy land and hearing Christmas music. It was so easy to forget that it was close to Christmas at all even with everything decorated for Christmas. But it was great because I got to feel like I was with my family for Christmas which will be harder and harder to do as the years go by.

Speaking of seeing family. It was at this park that we saw my sister Nikki's family and were all together for the first time of the trip. I kind of cheated and went on a ride not recommended for pregnant women. Kilimanjaro Safari's. I wore a chunky hoodie in an attempt to hide my enhanced figure. It was cool in the morning so it wasn't so obvious. But I wasn't about to miss the first ride that we were going to do all together.

I was a little nervous but was more excited. Hyrum was so excited to go on a safari. I don't know that he had any idea what a safari was minus playing a safari game on the Lion King DVD we have but he was excited nonetheless.

It was a fun ride and we saw a lot of animals and took a lot of pictures but most if not all were blurry because just like the warning said it was pretty jerky and bumpy. I cheated and paid for it...my back was killing me for the rest of the day and night. Guess I learned my lesson.

Another day we took the Wildlife Express Train to Rafiki's Planet Watch. It was a much more leisurely ride ( especially for an "express" ) and no bumps or jerks. I'd learned my lesson.

Hyrum LOVED playing with his cousins. They played with him and chased him and pushed him in the stroller which was really nice for me.

I have to say that I was impressed with myself that I did so well at Disney world. Besides a stitch in my side when running ( yes running)because I couldn't get a full breath ever and the back pain from my small rebellion of the rules I didn't even get very tired. ( Minus the day that we got back to the hotel at midnight and left the next day around 7:30 of course)

While we were at Rafiki's Planet Watch we got to see some characters. I asked to be in the pictures so we could show the little one to come (who to this day remains nameless- we gotta get on that) that he was there too. First up was Mr. Jiminy Cricket.

Then we met Ms. Pocahontas. Who was very in character. We walked up to take a picture with her and she said "Oh you've brought your whole tribe!" To which I said, playing along, "Yes we're having a Pow Wow." She sweetly said "Oh...what's that?" I guess being in character only goes so far. :)

Then we met the man himself...Rafiki. By this time Hyrum was pretty much done with taking pictures with characters and didn't know who this furry beast was. I'm arching my back in the picture to keep him upright. Unfortunately for me he doesn't look like he's struggling in the picture so I just look like I'm trying to accentuate the positive...lovely.

When we were in the Africa section of Animal Kingdom waiting in line to get Cinnamon glazed almonds and pecans ( which I craved for weeks after) an African band began to play across the street. After we got our goods ( that were no cost to us because of the meal plan cha ching!!) we went across the street to watch and listen. Apparently these musicians were not content just to be watched and wanted some participation. They pulled people out of the crowd to dance with them. My sister Holly and Derek were asked to join them...but not me, even though I was dancing in the crowd. They must not want to expose everyone to a dancing pregnant woman. And really, who can blame them?

( My sister is in black capris and a grey shirt and Derek is in the green shirt just to the left of her)

They later had a group of girls come out and dance together. Then they had the boys come out and dance. Derek really got a chance to show his stuff.

I'm telling you, my man has GOT IT!!! I love that guy!

Under the Tree of Life on Discovery Island is the "It's tough to be a bug" show. We'd seen it at Disneyland and we'd heard that it was the same but decided to go with my brother in law who hadn't seen it yet. We were so glad that we did because as you wind around the tree to go to the theater you get to see the Tree of Life up close and get to see the detail. It's amazing. There are animals "carved" into the trunk and branches of the tree. The artistry is amazing. Sadly I didn't get any pictures of them so you'll just have to go and see them yourselves. :) But I did get a picture of all of us minus me of course in our bug vision glasses.

I'm really surprised that this picture turned out as good as it did because I couldn't see a thing when I took it.

While the big kids and the brave and able adults were off doing Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids, me and the little kids spent our time in the Bone yard of Dinoland USA. This was Hyrum's FAVORITE thing about Animal Kingdom. It was just this big fenced in maze of stairs slides and bridges on one side and a sand pit on the other side where kids could "discover" some dinosaur bones (or fill their shirts and ears with gravely sand). Hyrum would just get out of the stroller and run in to the boneyard with or without me.

I should have more pictures of this place since Hyrum loved it so much but I really don't have too many. One time we were there, my sister Nikki and I were up on a bridge watching our boys run around together. I saw Hyrum looking for the bridge to the sand pit. I decided to head towards him to show him the way while my sister went to get her son. I got to where I thought he was headed and I couldn't find him. I started to look everywhere and still couldn't find him. Then I saw my sister leave with my nephew and started to panic a little thinking of him running off alone to go into the Boneyard I was afraid that he'd run out of the Boneyard too. I was frantic as I looked for him for probably 5 minutes. That doesn't sound too long but when you are a parent who doesn't know where your child is, it seems like an eternity. Finally I saw him climbing up some stairs and probably scared him when I ran up behind him scooped him up and held him and kissed him. I'm sure he didn't consider himself lost at all. We then went over to the sand pit together. I wasn't letting him out of my sight again.

My sister had my camera and took this picture of us "finding bones" when she came back after I'd found him. And this is Hyrum filling his ears with gravely sand.

He was so proud of himself. He loved the Boneyard.

I love this kid!

One of the funniest things about Disney World is that although you rarely have to wait in line for the bathroom even in the ladies room which is a feat I assure you but I did wait in line numerous times for the diaper change table. I shutter to think of what it would be like if Disney World was in Utah. :)

One unique things you may or may not find in Animal Kingdom is DiVine. We saw her once and while it was cool, it was a little freaky too.

Do you see her?

I succumbed to my childhood desires and got myself the expensive fun shaped ice cream bars that my parents were never so foolish to buy when I was growing up. They are ridiculously priced but since I was on the meal plan it was included which means FREE!!

And FREE tastes sooo good. And so did the Mickey shaped Dove bar. ( You can see the bridge to the Boneyard sand pit back behind me)

But the best thing about Animal Kingdom was being there with both of my sisters and their families and getting this fun picture in front of the Tree of Life so we can remember.

I think most people think that this is the Epcot:

I did too but actually there is an interesting, old and fantastic ride inside this little treasure. And that ride is called Planet Earth. The big silver ball is just the icon of the Epcot park.

This is the park that we probably spent the most time at and saw the least at. We spent the most time at this park because of World showcase. Which is the section of the park where they have exhibits and FOOD from all over the world. It had the best restaurants there so we ate here most days. Sadly we realized all too late that we saw little besides the restaurants in World showcase and missed out on a lot. Next time, right?

Our first taste of World Showcase was The Biergarten which of course was German fare. Derek was really excited about it. And it was really good food too! But not only did they have great food but great entertainment too.

Derek got to use his German which he's always happy to do but he uses his German with a little nervousness because he doesn't get to use it enough to feel very comfortable anymore. The show was great with German folk songs and they had all the kids gather around and they told them how "Silent Night" came to be written and told them a little about Christmas traditions in Germany and then gave them all a huge chocolate coin.

Not only was the restaurant decorated amazingly for the theme and the holidays but the shops around it were authentic looking with all kinds of traditional German products. There were cuckoo clocks, nutcrackers, Smurfs (did anyone else know they were German? I certainly didn't) metal and glass steins, toy shields, swords and knights and soccer shirts. Derek was kicking himself yet again for not buying a nice cuckoo clock in Germany when he was there on a mission. He could have gotten one for a song compared to what he could get them for here. Someday we will make our way across the pond and bring back a cuckoo clock. Regardless of his regret it was fun and nostalgic for him to be "in Germany" for awhile. As we walked around World Showcase my sister had some nostalgia in the England pavilion ( she spent a year and a half there as a nanny) and I had some nostalgia in the Mexico pavilion. Although I've never actually been to Mexico I served among the Spanish speaking people in California and they brought a bit of their countries with them when they came to the US.

My sister Nikki introduced us to a fun little hidden ride in the Mexico pavilion that Hyrum LOVED.

Gran Fiesta Tour featuring the Three Caballeros otherwise known as "the Mexican 'It's a small world' " It is a slow boat ride around Mexico with video screens and animatronic dolls like 'Small World' but with much better music...at least I think. Hyrum rode it three times in a row and could have ridden it 15 times more in a row and still be asking to go again. They had him saying "Adios" by the end.

And a added bonus was figuring out who the characters were that were in the middle of the pool at our resort. :)

The three Caballeros ( Donald Duck, Panchito Pistoles and Jose Carioca)

Another World Showcase eating highlight was "Le Cellier" in Canada. It had great steaks and these fun bread sticks that were actually like soft pretzels. Not to mention the Chocolate Moose.

The other part of the Epcot park is known as Future World which is where Spaceship earth is...I'm sure you guessed that. In 'The Land' section they had a ride called "Living with the Land" that takes you through the greenhouses they have on site in which they are doing research on different ways of growing plants more efficiently. For someone who studied greenhouse operations in college this was really interesting. My amazing sister Holly also got us tickets to the "Behind the Seeds tour" for my birthday and we got to go into the greenhouses and get a closer look at all the work they are doing.

Hydroponic basil and brussel sprouts
My wonderful sister Holly and the colorful hydroponic rubarb
This tree tomato plant was only 6 months old and had already broken records for pounds of tomatoes harvested.
Hydroponic lettuce with a "hidden" Mickey. They actually use this lettuce and other things they grow here at the Garden Grill restaurant that we ate at.
My sister taking a picture of the form they use to make the Mickey shaped pumpkins. It's kinda hard to see.

I realize that this may not be as interesting to you as it is to me but it is so cool to see a working greenhouse using methods that we only learned about in college. They even gave us plans to make a hydroponic grow tank at home...someday I tell you...someday! And as always it was wonderful to be in a greenhouse again.

The Garden Grill was a fun restaurant that we really liked. It was in the same building with "Living with the Land" In fact around the restaurant you saw the scenery from the ride. The whole restaurant slowly rotated as you ate. It was also a character dinner. We weren't sure how Hyrum would do with characters. He's not a screamer or a crier but he is a little nervous around them. But as Pluto Chip and Dale and Mickey were working their way around the tables Hyrum got very excited.

Once they were there and he'd given them a high five and a kiss on the nose he was not too interested in them lingering too long though.
( Side note: Can you BELIEVE those portions...for a child! And that was complimentary because Hyrum was too young to be on the meal plan...Yes we ate VERY good on the meal plan...totally recommend it. It's not often that you can say that Disney is generous but on the meal plan they are.)

Again GREAT food and great atmosphere. The Garden Grill was definitely one of our favorites. We had turkey and stuffing, steak and mashed potatoes and Mahi Mahi with steamed veggies and of course a great fresh salad. This was a family style dining where they bring out your meal and you can order more of whatever you want. I actually tried the Mahi Mahi for the first time ever. I'm not real good at trying new foods. It was pretty good, I have to say. And of course the dirt dessert. Gotta stick with the theme.

Also in 'The Land' we saw this little film where we learned a slightly disturbing fact that the same water that the dinosaurs drank we are still drinking today. Humm. yum.
In 'The Seas' they had the Finding Nemo ride that Hyrum thought was pretty cool.

They also had "Turtle Talk with Crush" and these amazing and HUGE( the world's largest) aquariums that you can actually arrange to dive in and swim with the sharks, sea turtles, rays and dolphins. Or you could just hang out with Bruce.

On the other side of 'Future World' were Test Track and Mission Space that I was unable to go on in my "delicate condition" so I waited with the littler kids while my sister and her husband and my husband and older kids went on them.

As I waited a cast member came up to me and let me know about a play area near the exit of the ride where I could take the kids to play. BRILLIANT!! I'm telling you these people think of EVERYTHING. We went to the mission space play area while they went on both of the rides. Hyrum could have just looked at the que around the exit to the ride. He, as you may remember, is PASSIONATE about rockets and space shuttles.

Hyrum could have stayed here all day. And I got to sit and write in my little Passporters guide and record all the things we were doing everyday.

Derek also got to try out a Segway at Innovations in Future World. They gave him instruction and coaching all along the way. I think he did great though. He said that it was really cool.

At night they had a fireworks show called Illuminations. It is set in the World Showcase lagoon which the world showcase pavilions surround on three sides. Around the circumference they light torches to begin the show.

It made me think of the Olympics when I'd see them light. It helped that the Winter Olympics are coming very soon. Derek and I went to an event of the Winter Olympics in 2002 when they were here in Salt Lake City and we got engaged during it too so I have happy memories associated with the winter Olympics. Plus I'll have our second child during this coming Winter Olympics. Another happy thing. If you are at Epcot at night it's a must see. So great! And think of the Olympics for me. :)

Whew one park down...three more to go!