Summer's favorite way to end a day at the park is always getting a souvenir. The first few days I was able to steer clear of the stores telling her not until the end of the trip, but after she had a few days to look things over I knew she was ready to pick what she really wanted. She got a Minnie Mouse that goes on her back like a backpack. One evening we found a charm necklace with no charms on it. Let's just say we ended up buying at least 5 charms at $4.21 each including tax. That free necklace ended up costing much more than I imagined, but it is a cool souvenir that I hope will keep giving as the years come and we can add more charms to it. She picked all of them out by herself but one. I picked a charm with Belle, Cinderella and Aurora on it since those princess stand for me, Lexie and Summer. One charm she chose was a black and white cat which I'm not sure what character/movie he represents. Maybe Aristocats??? She also picked a pink crown, Aurora's portrait in heart shaped frame and a pink Mickey head. Clint and I both wanted her to get an S for Summer which also had Mickey ears, but she wouldn't when I wouldn't let her also get the C. Those were really the only souvenirs she got except for the t-shirt I picked out for her while we were waiting for a table at Rain Forest Cafe. We did well compared to what I saw others buying at the parks. That place has got the money making scheme going on with most rides exiting through gift shops, but it truly was a magically good time and I think I would do it all over again.
Her favorite ride was Expedition Everest, followed by The Barnstormer at Goofy's Miniacres Farm. Both roller coasters!!! She is definitely a hands up girl on the coasters. She even chanted "Hands up! Hands up!" a few times. That's my girl! Unlike two years ago, she would not ride the carousel. She said she doesn't like it because it is too slow. So, at age 5 3/4 she is too big for the carousels. What a sad day! They used to be her favorite. She also loved Soarin'™ at Epcot which was a hang gliding simulation. We got to ride it twice thanks to the handy fast passes (FP) they have for some of the rides at the parks. They really did allow us to ride more. At Hollywood Studios, Toy Story Mania!® so we also rode it twice thanks to the FP. We tried to ride it when we went back the two other times which happened to be in the evening, but the fast passes were already gone by the time we got there and the line was over an hour long.
Her least favorite ride was probably Haunted Mansion which Clint insisted we go on. I was cool with that though because I was also going to insist we go on "it's a small world" to their dismay. We had done the Haunted Mansion last year when we went to Disneyland so she was not really frightened, but she did not enjoy it either. Another spooky ride she said she would not do again was The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™. It was an elevator ride with drops which definitely got the heart to pumping. She didn't cry on any rides which was a plus! Dinosoar at Animal Kingdom was also a definite "No" on riding it again unlike Expedition Everest which we rode 5 times all together. Hands up!
Her favorite show was Beauty and The Beast. We almost didn't watch it because it only showed at certain times, but we were all glad we made a point to go see it. Her 2nd favorite show was also at Hollywood Studios and was The American Idol Experience finale. Clint talked us into watching since he had watched it the day before. We were both skeptical at first, but afterwards we were glad we tried something that wasn't at the top of our lists. Turtle Talk with Crush was cute and made us all laugh. Actually, we enjoyed all the shows and 3D attractions we saw. They were generally nice and cool and the lines were not too long.
Of course, there were lots of photo opportunities with famous Disney characters. After a visit to the Bippidi Boppidi Boutique in Downtown Disney, we headed to Magic Kingdom to find some princesses. She had a good time choosing her hair style and nail color. After getting all prettied up, she was a good poser for the camera. I was amazed by her beauty as I am most every time I look at her. She is truly a princess to me!!! These pictures are very similar to the ones we had taken two years ago. She said her favorite character she saw was Daisy Duck and the favorite one she posed with was Pluto. She also posed with Winnie the Pooh, Eyore, Tigger, Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Snow White, the fairy Godmother, and Thumper. Unlike a lot of the kids, she did not have an autograph book. It was not something I wanted to add to my tote bag, and I think the pictures are worth more anyway. That did not stop her from asking for one when she saw the other kids with them, but she did not put up a big fight for one and let it go pretty quickly. There were bigger things on her list of wants! LOL Park visits were broken up with visits to the pool, unless you are lucky to be the daddy and mostly spend that time resting in the bed and watching TV. I enjoy the sun though and had some good times swimming with Summer. We both had our goggles on and went to the deep end where she swam like a little fish. Her goal to reach the bottom of the pool with both her hands and feet was accomplished. She never did sit on the bottom with me though. She is getting really good at standing on her hands; I was very impressed with her skills anyway. She loved the pool closest to our room better than the big pool with the water slides and entertainment activities in the center of the resort. She said it was easier to swim in, and I have to agree. There was a lot less going on there so it was easier to do all the stuff she wanted. We ran into some kids from her school while waiting our turn to go down one of the water slides. Turns out they shared our Aruba pool too. Its a small world!
The shuttle buses we rode to and from the parks were also lots of fun for Summer. She got to ride standing a few times which was more exciting for her than me, but I guess when you are five and don't have to buckle up, it's all good. One afternoon, we rented a big 4 or 5 person bicycle and went around the resort a few times. Summer really wanted to do it so there was no getting out of it. I actually thought it would be a little more fun than it was, but it turned out to be harder than I anticipated. Oh well, it was good exercise! I wish we would've done the paddle boats instead, but getting her on a boat would not have been an easy task. She does not seem to really enjoy them much. I hope maybe she will change her tune this summer when we put the boat in the water, but that is probably the reason she doesn't like them. It did a few too many nose dives into the lake last summer. We built a sandcastle on the beach by the lake one morning when the pool was a little too cool for her. We also played hide and seek with various objects. We took turns hiding them in the sand with a big X to mark the spot so we would know when we found them. The hammocks they had on the beach were very nice for relaxing when I got the chance which wasn't but a few times. I guess when your 5 relaxing isn't at the top of your list. I can't say that Disney World is the best place to go and relax, but it is a great place to go to have fun and do and see lots of different things. Our family gives it two thumbs up!