Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Independence Day

I had a lot of mixed feelings leading up to the Fourth of July this year.  We had definite Fourth of July traditions when we lived in Massachusetts, and the Fourth was one of my favorite holidays.  I have such fond memories of celebrating with family.  With this being our first year not being able to participate.. well, I was worried that I'd be totally bummed out all long-weekend.

Thankfully, it turned out really great.  Doug had Friday, July 3rd off since the 4th was on Saturday.  Since the 3rd is our anniversary, it was really nice to get to spend the day with Doug.  We mostly just relaxed around the house, but around 5:30pm, we headed over to Magic Kingdom.  The plan was to have Doug and the kids use Fast Passes for some rides while I found and held a good spot for the fireworks - Magic Kingdom does their Fourth of July fireworks on the 3rd, as well.  We've never been in the park on a really busy day, so I wasn't quite sure how it would go, but we figured we'd give it a shot.

Well, we found a nice spot in the grass right when we walked in, so I parked the stroller, spread out some things, and sat down - Doug headed off to do some rides with the kiddos.  As I was sitting there, however, I noticed huge, black storm clouds moving our way.  After a bit, I started noticing lightning.  Over the next hour, the storm got closer and closer, and the lightning was starting to worry me a little.  Finally, the skies opened and everyone bolted for the nearest covered areas.  I managed to fight my way through the Tomorrowland Terrace area, then met up with Doug and the kids in Auntie Gravity's for some ice cream.  We slowly made our way closer to the hub, stopping under whatever shelter we could find.  Finally the rain slowed to a sprinkle, but the lightning continued.

We decided to go snag a spot in the hub again, and found a good spot in the grass.  We waited there in the rain until 8:50pm, when they announced that the fireworks were delayed.  We waited through two more delay messages (it seemed like they were doing them every 10 minutes or so), before finally giving up.  We got Chick-Fil-A on the way home, as consolation for missing the fireworks.  They finally did them around 10pm, just as we were nearing home.  It turned out that the lightning show made a lot of news sites, which I found kind of strange because there are thunderstorms all the time down here.. I guess it was just the right timing for a news story?  Great pictures, though!

(photo from @mego_rex)

We had friends over on the Fourth, though, which was so much fun.  Their anniversary is the 5th, and the husband was out of town for the weekend, so we thought we would be lonely together.  We kept it pretty simple, but I did set out some fun snacks.  We had chips, queso, and salsa, boxes of Cracker Jacks, and I made some whipped cream (oh my gosh, homemade whipped cream is the best, isn't it?), berries, and graham crackers to make flags.  I'm not a big fan of graham crackers, but these were delicious.

We also did our red, white, and blue punch but I forgot to take a picture until most of the blue was gone.  I love this trick, mainly because guests are always super impressed with it.

Mainly the kids played inside and swam in the pool, but the girls also made wind socks with cardstock and crepe paper.  

Burgers, hot dogs, sausages, and more fruit and chips were what we had for lunch, and everyone was pretty satisfied.  It was so nice having company over to distract us and remind us that we're not 'all alone' down here, because I think it would have been a pretty sucky Fourth without friends.  

After dinner, we decided to try going to watch the fireworks again.  Plan A was to try to park at the Poly and watch them from one of the resorts on the monorail loop.  Plan B was to park at the TTC but watch from one of the monorail resorts.  Plan C was to go up behind Magic Kingdom to the cast member parking lot and watch from there.  Obviously, we had to go with Plan C - the resorts were only letting guests staying there or with dining reservations park, and while we could have gotten into the TTC (Magic Kingdom was closed for capacity, but they still let passholders in), it was raining again and I didn't want to stand out in the rain while waiting for a tram.  The cast member parking lot worked out really, really well.  There were plenty of other families doing the same thing, but it didn't feel crowded.  The fireworks were really close, and we even had reflective surfaces to add to the wow, thanks to the puddles.  I was also smart enough to queue up last year's show on YouTube so we could listen to the music with my phone.  And the big bonus was being able to hop right in the car and be home a half hour later.

All in all, it was an awesome holiday weekend!