While we all wanted to the fun to keep on coming, we were also ready to get back to our own beds, routines and "normal" lives.
But not before a few more surprises!
First, we surprised the kids with tickets to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, also known as MNSSHP to Disney freaks like us.
You didn't really think we were going to stay in Florida that long and NOT go to a Disney Park, did you?
Besides, MNSSHP is Scott's favorite and it was, after all, his anniversary trip too.
As was typical on this trip, the forecast called for rain, so we packed our ponchos and headed to the Magic Kingdom.
Dead men tell no tales at Pirates of the Caribbean.
In the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki room...Magic Carpet Ride.
Enchanted Tales with Belle.
Eliza Grace was chosen to play "the Beast."
Waiting for the fireworks to start - and posing like Mickey and Minnie topiary.
I love it when they project graphics onto the castle.
Main Street U.S.A. all dressed up for the party.
The day after the Halloween party we told the kids we were going to keep it low key that day and hang around the resort pools. What they didn't know was that weeks before we had secretly arranged to meet up with our good friends at our hotel for dinner and swimming after they arrived in Orlando for their family vacation.
Late that afternoon I made up an excuse to step out of our room and ran down the hall to let our friends into the building. Then I went back into our room and told Eliza Grace that I had seen something really odd in the hallway and if someone knocked on the door to go ahead and open it. Guess that seemed normal enough to her because a few seconds later the knock came and she leaped out of her chair to open it.
All 6 members of the Harloff clan yelled "Surprise!" and Eliza Grace and Will totally flipped out. Lots of excited screaming, bouncing and joyful hugging ensued and we had a fabulous night of pizza and pool time.
But wait, there's more!
The Harloff's had invited us to stay the next night in one of their Disney resort hotel rooms so we could stay an extra day in Orlando and spend the next evening with them. When the kids heard this they were even more thrilled!
We had a wonderful time with great friends and topped it all off with a great meal and Irish dancing at Raglan Road at Downtown Disney.
And then - finally - it was time to go. 16 days after we first departed, we packed our bags for the last time and headed back to NC.
It was a wonderful vacation that we'll always remember, full of firsts and fun, friends and fabulous surprises right 'til the end!