Friday, October 16, 2020

Disney around the World - Day 3 Part 1 - Happy Birthday Alli and Namsangol Hanok Village 2018/10/16

Let's continue the story about how we visited every Disney park in the world! Today we're not quite at a Disney park yet. We've stopped in Korea for a few days before we'll continue to Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. 

Today we've got a lot of fun things planned. It might just have been my favorite day in Korea. To start our day, we're heading to the Namsangol Hanok Village in Seoul!

But even more exciting than some of the stuff we're doing in Korea, there's other exciting news! There's a certain little girl who has a birthday today! She's turning 3 while we're in Korea!

Our sleep schedules are still a little off, so Alli was wide awake at 5:30am. I was so tired yesterday that I fell asleep at 9:30pm, which means I'm doing pretty good after having slept 8 solid hours. One super easy thing I've found to do to not disturb others in the morning is hang out in the shower. This room has a great shower with a big enclosed area and not just a small tub. 

For breakfast, we're still enjoying the all-you-can-eat buffet on the top floor that Theresa gets for having a Marriott Platinum Elite status. Nice to have those perks. 

I love the variety. It was a really tasty breakfast with a little something for everyone. 

Now it's time to go explore the city. Ian loves the foreign money. And this one is 1000! That's got to be worth a lot! Actually it's about 87 cents, but it looks like a big number. 

I love that you can go under the major streets via these tunnels. 

Ruston and Jacob haven't had breakfast yet, so we're stopping by a bread place. Tous les Jours offers lots of different bread choices. 

Or at least they're supposed to. When we arrived, they looked pretty picked over. 

I did find a bread that I wanted to try though. That honey and gorgonzola cheese bread looks delicious! I picked it up and it was still warm! After tasting it, it was almost like a fondue bread. 

Because we didn't like the selection so much from Tous les Jours, we found the Paris Baguette from yesterday just a couple blocks away. They had a great selection still. 

Alli and Ian went over to the display case where Alli would announce "we should get the prettiest cake for my birthday!"

Taking a step back from the display, Ian saw they had party hats! He's pointing Alli's head in their direction. 
Ian - We need to get those for Alli!!!

So we did. They look so adorable in them. And look who is on them. It's Pororo the Penguin. The same penguin that was on their gift bags with kids activities on the plane!
And after Alli drank so much of Ruston's strawberry smoothie yesterday, today she is getting one of her own. 

With the kids in their strollers, it was time to walk to the subway to take us over to Namsangol Hanok Village. 

To get there, we meandered through an open market. 

Ian was telling anyone who was nearby how it was his sister's birthday today. Some of them even wished her a happy birthday!

Yes, there's certain parts of the city that don't smell the best. Just deal with it. 

Even from half a world away, thanks to smart phones, family from Michigan can send a video to Alli, wishing her a happy birthday. 

It's really nice that there's such an extensive subway system here. It's much easier to do this than to try to deal with a car or bus. 

Minus the few sets of stairs you have to go down to get beneath the city. 

Smile friends!

10 minutes later, we exited the subway and we're ready to go see the village. 

If only we knew which way to go! The subway exited to a major street, but we were surrounded by large buildings. I don't have my sense of direction here yet, so after 3 false starts, eventually we noticed the large gate down the end of one of the streets. 

There's the gate to the Namsangol Hanok Village! Admission is free! Just walk right in. 

This is an area of the city where the houses have been restored to preserve the original atmosphere of the area. 

And we're here at about 9:40am, which is before many of the other activities open up. That means it's pretty quiet right now. 

There's a beautiful view of the hillside and the leaves changing colors. We can see the Seoul Tower, which Ian really wanted to go back and see. 

Some fun cutouts where you can pretend you're in traditional Korea garb. 

Smile family! 

There's 5 traditional houses in this village too, and they have an activity that we thought would be fun to do. 

We're all going to play dress-up in traditional Korean hanbok! We've heard they can get busy, so we were there a few minutes before they opened at 10am. There was one worker getting set up, and Ruston (who happens to know a little Korean) started chatting with her. Ah, they only take cash and we don't have all that much left. 

Ruston and I left the village to find a bank. The 7/11 right outside the village didn't have an ATM, but Ruston was able to talk with the clerk and get directions to a nearby bank that would. 

When we returned, I saw that my two little kids were becoming celebrities. Theresa told the kids that as long as they didn't feel uncomfortable, they could take pictures with people. So yep, random strangers wanted pictures with the white kids. 

We waited and waited for what felt like a long time, but was really just 15 minute or so past 10am when they were supposed to be open. 

Ruston, as he likes to do, was wandering around and happened to see that there were two different places where you could rent hanbok. And this one was already open! Perfect!

After we removed our shoes, we entered and were greeted warmly and enthusiastically by these two women. 

Along the wall were plenty of different hanbok styles that we could dress up in. Kids first. They picked out a set of pants, shirt, and hat for him. 

Aww, he looks adorable!

And they even had a place to sit and take formal photos. 

Next it was Alli's turn, and I don't know if you can tell, but she's excited. 

They picked out the perfect color dress for her and then started to braid her hair. 

Ian telling yet another person that it's his sister's birthday. He gets as excited about it as Alli does. 

Theresa is all set. With a fascinator in her hair too. Beautiful. 

Go ahead and get a picture with Mommy Ian. 

Don't they just look adorable! 

A picture of the kids and their mom. Love it. 
I should note that at this time, the two Korean ladies were directing us through everything. Go sit over here. Asking for our cameras and taking pictures for us. Moving people to a certain place and indicating "Let me take a picture with you together." They were having just as much fun with it as we were.  

Alright Ruston, you've been chosen to go next. 

They shuffled everyone back together again in their little picture area, making sure to line the kids up properly. Then they started taking pictures. 

Uh, wait a minute! I see what's going on here! 
Ruston stood up, pointing at himself and saying "Samchon, samchon!" ("Uncle, uncle!")
Then pointing at me and saying "Appa, appa!" ("Dad, dad!")
Everyone got a good laugh out of that. 

So that means then that it's my turn to get dressed up next. 

And there, now we have a family picture together. 

You guys look really cute. 

With just Jacob to go, one of the women asked for Theresa's phone and then took the kids to different areas of the house to get pictures. 

Our worry about them getting busy was thankfully just a worry. No other people stopped by for 30 minutes, and they gave us their full attention. Sorting through my photos from the day, I see they took over 200 pictures in the time we were there with them. I'll sort through them all and only show you my favorites. 

I love that they get along so well. 

Ruston getting a few photos of his own. 

And Jacob too. 

First, an old timey serious pose. Don't anyone dare smile. 

And then another showing what we're all really feeling. 

This was a really fun experience! It was 10000 Won ($8.70) each, and I think it was completely worth it. They really fawned all over us. But we're not through yet! Part 2 is coming soon! (I promise!)


  1. Happy Birthday, Alli (Big "5" now)!! Ian is just as excited (or even more so) for your birthday as anyone can be :-) Really cute party hats! Ruston's Korean language skills came in handy. The family picture with everyone in their hanbok was GORGEOUS!!!! (Ruston & Jacob also looked VERY nice in their hanbok, too) The vibrant colors in that traditional Korean dress is perfect for picture taking. Shocked it was only $8.70 each to do the hanbok...would have expected much more, especially considering the detailed designs and fabric involved. Such a wonderful experience, and not be too rushed, either (advantages of being the early bird!) The fall foliage on the trees are so beautiful. EOM

    1. It was an amazing day! It was a lot of fun to relive it as I was writing it all up. The kids like reading the stories too, and are pushing me to keep writing the rest of it. Being stuck here due to Covid, they like hearing about all of their past adventures too.