During the planning of our Disney vacation, I was unsure of how well Eilam would do going all day at the parks. We had a full five days to visit the parks and the afternoon of our arrival. Our plan was to visit one park each day and visit the Magic Kingdom twice. Our arrival evening we were going to visit Disney Springs. We went in with the attitude we would be at the parks when they opened and then go back for an afternoon nap and then just play it by ear. If Eilam was up to going back we would, if not we would spend the evening at the hotel and go swimming and relaxing. We were pleasantly surprised at how well Eilam did. We would go back for an afternoon nap but whenever he got up he was ready to go back to the parks and go on more rides. We would usually get back to the hotel between 7 and 9pm. So we only ended up going swimming only one evening.
We planned each park that we would visit based on the extra magic hours. So our first day was at Epcot. Epcot was lacking in the younger kids rides but Eilam did enjoy the Finding Nemo ride. He was exactly 40 inches which meant he could ride most of the rides at all the parks. While Brian and I did the rider swap or used Fastpasses for anything that he couldn’t go on. He did really well on the Chevy Test Track and we went on it twice. We were able to go on Mission Space in the morning when there wasn’t very many people around and did the rider swap, even though at that time it wasn’t necessary. We both just walked right onto the ride. After nap, then we ate and drank and walked around the World Showcase.
The character meet and greets were not a success. For a kid that loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse he was not excited to meet Goofy, Mickey or Minnie. We tried each day until he was comfortable though. Epcot is feeling outdated and we could have done a half day at this park but Brian and I wanted to go around the World Showcase. Which we really enjoyed, Eilam had fun but definitely wasn’t his favorite part of the trip. (Note we went to DisneyWorld before the Frozen ride opened.)
In mid-October we took a couple days off work and road tripped from Arlington, Virginia up to New England. We went as far north as Bar Harbor and then down to Portland over through New Hampshire and Vermont and then back down to home. We wanted to see the fall foliage and check out Acadia National Park. Our itinerary was pretty aggressive as we only had five days for this trip and we were driving. This was a pseudo last minute trip so accommodations were sparse which went into our itinerary decisions.
We left on a Friday morning very early, around 5:45am. We wanted to miss DC, Baltimore and hopefully New York traffic. Our plan worked, the worst traffic we met was on the freeways outside of Boston, which was late afternoon. We drove up I95 through Maryland, New Jersey turnpike and all the way through Providence, RI. The Rhode Island detour probably added an hour to our trip but we had never been to Rhode Island and figured we couldn’t bypass it. We kept going on 95 until Highway 1A turn off to Bar Harbor. We stopped for a sit down lunch in Connecticut and dinner along with multiple potty stops and leg stops. The whole day took about 14-15 hours. Drive time alone would have been close to 12. It was a long day but we were glad we powered through this day so the rest of the trip didn’t have as much time in the car.
We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Bar Harbor. Bar Harbor has limited chain accommodations and this weekend we were only able to get reservations anywhere for Friday and Saturday nights (thus the 15 hour drive day). Eilam really did great on the long trip. He was definitely bored at times but we kept telling him that the next day we could go hiking and play outside which seemed to appease him some. The hotel was very nice with a nice continental breakfast. It was set up on a hill above Bar Harbor view a nice view of the surrounding areas and the water.
Saturday was our Acadia National Park day. We were really lucky with the weather on Saturday. It started out foggy but the sun broke through and it was a beautiful day. The National Park pass is good for 7 days. After purchasing one in the morning at a visitor center, we started on our exploration of the area. We drove the Park Loop Road with many stops at beaches and lookouts along the coast. We went on a hike/walk along the Carriage Roads at Jordan Pond. After a late lunch in Bar Harbor and we went back to the park and drove out to the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. We went on another small hike out there and then headed back into town for a lobster roll dinner. The area was beautiful and we would have taken advantage of the numerous hiking trails but many were not kid friendly, or at least preschool age friendly.
Our plan Sunday was to get up, check out and drive up to the top of Cadillac Mountain. We did do this but unfortunately it was blowing rain so hard that you couldn’t see 10 feet in front of you. We drove along the coast part of the way towards Portland. We stopped at Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. It was still raining but not quite as hard, so we wondered around some. Then it was back into the car for the remainder of the drive down to Portland. We didn’t book a room downtown due to cost, so we stayed at the Doubletree out by the mall area. It was still raining so hard, we just headed to the mall to stretch our legs there. Dinner was at Sea Dog Brewing Co where Brian enjoyed a full lobster dinner.
Monday we got up and drove through the downtown area of Portland and then headed on to our trip through New Hampshire and Vermont on the beautiful sunny day. The trees driving through New Hampshire were just beautiful. All of the colors were so brilliant. I never realized how many shades of oranges and red there are out there. Lunch was at Whetstone Station Brewing in Brattleboro, Vermont. After lunch we headed north with a stop at Hamilton Falls. The trail head isn’t very well marked but it was a nice little hike down and a good place to stretch your legs. Our day continued into New Hampshire with a stop at a state park where we were able to run around a big field and a lake. After a break with kept heading south down into New York for the night. This left a short 5-6 hour drive on Tuesday to home.
Overall, the trip was quick but enjoyable. Acadia National Park was beautiful and it was a nice time to be there. The foliage was in peak condition and really breathtaking. The National Forests in this area were quite unlike the National Forests we are used to in the Pacific Northwest (much higher population density). We are glad we were able to make the trip and Eilam was an excellent car traveler.