Sunday, October 18, 2015

NYC Trip Report Part 2: Times Square and Rockefeller Center

NYC Trip Report:

Music Video
Hotel Review
Amex Centurion Lounge Review
Part 1: Intro and Getting There

Part 2: Times Square and Rockefeller Center

Saturday, October 10, 2015

With our hotel room's great blackout curtains, I was looking forward to sleeping in just a little to make up for our late arrival the night before. Unfortunately, we were all woken up by a persistent knocking on our door at 6:30 a.m. At first I thought it was someone knocking on the door across the hall, but the more I ignored it the more it became clear the knock was on our door. And it was someone who had the wrong room. Ugh! Everyone except for me was able to fall back asleep for about an hour. I gave up and showered.

Tired kids, still happy for what was in store for the day:

We ate breakfast downstairs.

Before we walked to the subway station, we decided to check out the rooftop pool. It didn't open until 10 a.m. so we didn't get a good look at it, but we did go out on the rooftop terrace and saw a view of Manhattan.

At 9:15 a.m., we left our hotel. The walk to the subway station was easy. We studied the map.

As a mom to three active, playful kids, the subway platforms scare me. There is no barrier to the track. I was super-paranoid and wouldn't let my kids go anywhere near the yellow line.

We managed to get seats for the ride into Manhattan.

We got off at the Times Square station, which is the next-to-the-last stop on the 7 line. The Times Square subway station has connections to just about every other subway line. When we climbed to street level, we could see the Toys 'R Us store.

We decided to go to Toys 'R Us first to ride the Ferris wheel before the line got too long. (This Toys 'R Us store is closing/relocating after Christmas, see this article. I hope the Ferris wheel can fit in the new store).

It was so weird to see the Ferris wheel inside of a building.

Only 4 people are allowed in a car, so the boys went together on this taxi car:

And Alyssa and I got a Toy Story car:

The great thing about the Ferris wheel ride is that we could see all the levels of the store and figure out where we should head first. Check out Superman holding up a semi truck from the ceiling:

And this moving dinosaur in the Jurassic Park section:

Toward the back of the store was this life-size Barbie dream house:

I was hoping it would be fun to explore, but it was just filled with Barbies.

The Lego displays at Toys 'R Us are, in my opinion, better than the ones at the Lego Store at Rockefeller Center.

Of course Spiderman has to be in NYC!

The store has a lot of photo-op areas:

We easily spent a few hours in the Toys 'R Us store. So much to see!

Our next stop was the Disney Store. Of course!

The downstairs has New York-specific merchandise. I bought Alyssa a Minnie Mouse Statue of Liberty shirt.

Going upstairs, the ceiling is decorated like the lantern festival from Tangled:

The princess castle is towards the back:

It has a lovely chandelier inside:

And some magic mirrors against the wall (see our video):

Some cast members were telling Star Wars stories. My two kids were the only ones in that section on a busy Saturday afternoon!

After the Star Wars story, the kids got some medals for their participation:

This small Mickey Mouse clubhouse has lots of buttons and levers on the inside:

After the Disney Store, we grabbed a quick lunch at McDonalds. Gasp, I know, all that good New York City food and we chose McDonalds? Well, we had a lot to see during our two days in the city and we didn't want to spend a lot of time eating. This was our view of Times Square from the second level of McDonalds:

Next, we walked a few blocks to Rockefeller Center and visited the Nintendo World store, something my kids were anticipating for a long time!

The store had a scavenger hunt going on, but the kids just wanted to take photos and hunt for Mario game plush.

Our kids had been saving their allowance specifically for this store. A total of six Mario World plush were purchased along with a new video game, and we had some very happy kids.

Next, it was time to visit the observation tower at the top of Rockefeller Center (also known as Top of the Rock). We were surprised that the ice skating rink was already set up.

We had pre-purchased tickets online for a 2:00 p.m. arrival for the observation deck so that we would avoid standing in another line.

The Top of the Rock has three levels of observation decks, and we found the middle one to be the least crowded. Top of the Rock has a great view of Central Park on one side and the Empire State Building on the other side. The views are really impressive, and I think that this one or the Empire State observation deck is a must-do for any tourist.

At this point, we were all really tired from standing most of the day. The kids played with their new toys on this bench-with-a-view for a while.

My oldest son and I circled the observation deck again for some selfies and views:

Family photo:

We spent about an hour at the top, just taking in the views and relaxing. After that, we walked back to Times Square to soak up more of the crazy atmosphere:

We brought cash so that our kids could have photos with a few characters in Times Square. Some of the characters are downright creepy-looking. We saw an Olaf that didn't look too bad, and I asked for a photo with the kids. Right before I snapped the picture, three of his friends jumped in and demanded to be paid as well. This was our most expensive photo ever!

So we learned our lesson for the next one. I asked Batman if we could have a photo with just him, and he obliged. Several of his friends tried to rush into the picture, but he waived them off.

It was only about 4:30 p.m. at this time and we thought about having dinner in the city, but we were all so exhausted. We didn't really walk a lot, but we were standing so much. So we took the subway back to Queens, ate at Applebee's around the corner, and splashed in the rooftop pool.

We got the kids in bed by 9:00 p.m. and I was hoping for a better night's sleep.

Up next: The Statue of Liberty and the Intrepid Air and Space Museum.

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